So I went to the dealer one more time to look at my "beloved" car, the Mazda 3 sedan with black cloth inteior (most likely a GS car). I promptly walked into the showroom, and just like my last review, plunked myself in the front seat. Keep in mind I'm 5'8".
The driver's seat is the best seat in the house for this car, so to speak. Visibility is good, and the seat is adjustable as well as comfortable. The seating really fit my body quite well, and I didn't have to pull many adjustments before I found the perfect driving position.
The interior is very organized. Taking a second look at the console, I found it very easy to find all the controls. The audio controls would take a while to figure out, but I figured that after playing around with it, things would still be easy to find. The 3 cylinders that enclosed the gauges made the car seem that much more expensive. To top it off, the clean-looking glove compartment matched the interior perfectly. And much like before, it was huge. Not as huge as I had last imagined, but still large none the less (perfect for a few wine bottles). The fit and finish of this car is excellent, even at $17000-$19000 dollars. My only complaint comes with the fact that the interior was almost completely made up of plastic parts. Plastic or not, it still looked and felt good.
As I stepped out and into the back seat, I realized that the door closed with authority. In other words, there was a resounding "thud" that made you realize that the car was put together with precision. There was no vibrating sound of flexing body panels as the door closed, unlike the new Toyota Sienna of which I had a ride in.
As I sat in the rear seats, I noticed something I didn't quite catch before. As I tested out the seatbelt, I realized that my hair was touching the roof. This surprised me at first, but when I looked up, I realized that the sedan's rear roof was a bit roof. I also had a bit of trouble moving from the left rear seat to the one on the right. My Corolla, despite being 19 years older, had more space width and height-wise. This is somewhat of a problem because a lot of my friends are about my height and would find the space in the rear a little cramped, more so if the front seats are pushed back.
I moved to the trunk of the sedan to find, to my disappointment, that it was quite small in terms of width. It's still a big trunk and is very deep, however, I found the width to be a tad small for my liking. My criteria is based on the ability to place a guitar case or a few hockey sticks in there. Judging by the width of it, I figured I would have to put my guitar case or hockey sticks at an awkward angle to fit in the trunk.
One thing I noticed on the particular car I was sitting in was that there were swirls in the paint that were only visible by sunlight. This doesn't seem like a problem with the manufacturing (possibly caused by the dealership, actually), but it is something to keep an eye on when you're purchasing a new Mazda 3.
Regardless of all my new discoveries, this is still the kind of car that makes you want to get the keys and put it in gear and drive off into the sunset... or something like that. However, the second time with the car provided a few interesting insights that make me evaluate the Mazda 3 sedan in a different light.
Perhaps the Mazda 3 Sport is for me? That one seemed to have a wider trunk.
Mazda 3 Sedan pros and cons (new ones):
-Still got that feeling that makes you want to drive the car.
-Great front seats. Excellent driving positioning.
-Fit and finish is beyond stellar for a car in this price range.
-Interior and exterior is cleverly laid out.
-Doors had a resouding "thud", evidence of a well made car.
-Although the trunk is large, it's a little small in terms of width.
-Rear seating is slightly cramped.
Dugrant, I know how you feel about just wanting to get in and drive the car
Funny though, I am also 5'8", and I found sufficient head room in the rear seat for myself. In fact I probably had 2-3 inches clearance about my head, and I was sitting upright to test the headroom; wierd how 2 similar size people have two different experiences. Maybe you have a longer upper half? The only problem I had was getting out of the car, as I almost tripped because of the small lower door opening (size 9.5 shoes).
If the hatch looked a little better from the rear, I would definitely consider it, but I like the sedan styling considerably more. I also don't have to worry about long/odd shaped cargo, so the trunk's shape didn't bother me too much.
I definitely agree about the quality and look of the interior, and the solid sound of the doors closing.
rsx_r04, I don't testdrive cuz I don't wanna waste the sales person's time.
I know I'm not gonna buy, and definitely not any time soon (unless I win the lottery or something really odd happens). So don't really wanna bother them. Don't think it makes a difference to them if I just look at the car.
But yeah, a test drive would probably sell me right away No doubt I still like the car... but yeah... I need the space. But don't want a Mini Van ... hehehe
Thanks for the comments so far, lmp180psu. It could be that my hair is spiked, and there was some clearance also for me. But it wasn't only the height I minded, it was also the trouble my size 12 feet had navigating the rear leg room. Cramped, even when my driver's seat was pushed up abit.
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