First off, let me say hello and welcome you to the forums. You've come to the right place in regards to the authority on Mazda3's.
[quote author=ozman link=topic=107430.msg2198025#msg2198025 date=1207058605]
I'm thinking the Pearl White in the sedan or the Copper Red in the hatch.
Great choice! The sedan is a fantastic car, and the white looks excellent on the car. I have a 2007 Mz3i 5-speed in Rally White and love it.
1) Are the driving dynamics similar on the hatch/sedan? The hatch looks sportier.. does it drive that way too? It seems squatter or am I mistaken?
I've now driven both sedan and hatch, and the driving dynamics are very similar. I feel like the hatch is a little heavier (which it is), but it holds the road just the same.
2) Which has more room at the back for normal sized adults and is a more comfortable ride for rear seat passengers -- the hatch or the sedan? Or are they more or less the same..?
Again, the two models are quite similar. The hatch will have more headroom, but I think they sacrifice a little overall trunk length for that. As they are both economy cars, they won't be huge in regards to leg room. Whatcha gonna do? Test drive!
3) I was initially very keen on the moonroof package, but am now wondering if it adds to weight and allows in outside noise? Does it help the resale value? (I plan on keeping the car for at least 5 years..)
The moonroof package will add a small amount of weight, and will help the resale value. From what I know, the moonroof is not too noisy.
4) Any recommendations for dealers in the central NJ area.. I'm moving to Princeton Junction in July.
Any Jersey folks help with this one?
5) While the slowdown in the economy is bad news, I'm hoping to make the most of it in terms of a car purchase.. holding out for incentives. Historically, is July a good time to buy.. when might the 2009 models be announced?
LOL - I bought my sedan on June 30th, 2007. Perfect time to buy. Right around this time, they are beginning to phase in the new models, and will cut prices on the last year's inventory. Great idea - you can probably save about $2K if you do this - I did!
6) How hard is the maintenance on the GT trim -- the leather seats and the new piano interior (finger prints?!)
Not too sure - I went with the cloth interior to keep things simple. From what I know, the "leather" interior holds up well and has enough synthetics in it to keep looking good. Any good saddle soap will keep the leather looking good for years.
7) If I plan on holding on to the car for 5-6 years, is the extended warranty a good idea? I expect to drive a fair bit, maybe about 15-20K a year.
There is an extended warranty you can buy, but as the Mazda3 is now a 5 year old design, most of the kinks have been worked out. Your problems will usually show up within the first 5000 miles or very high mileage.
8) Last question -- what would be a reasonable goal in terms pricing for a GT Auto Sedan with Moonroof? I know what the invoice prices are and I've been following the forum. I'm just looking for a one-line summary, e.g. $500 below invoice is good to aim for, or invoice only.. etc.
I should chide you for not looking at the 5-speed model, but everyone has their preferences.
The Mazda3s sedan GT auto with moonroof MSRPs at $23K MSRP. Personally, I think that's rape. The GT is only giving you Xenon headlights, rain-sensing wipers, auto-climate control, leather, and LED taillights. You can pick up a Mazda3s Sport for $20K MSRP if you can do without the knick-knacks.
If you can't, I think you could snag a 2008 model (in July/August) for around $20K OTD if you haggle like crazy.
Thank you so much for any help you provide.. The forum is awesome and I'll be sure to post pics once I have my Mazda3..
No problem - that's what we're here for.