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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

First time post.

I bought a new 2004 Mazda3 5-door. My first car!!!

My story:
First heard about a 5-door Mazda a few years back (It was the Protege S (5-door)) when there was a contest where they were giving it away. I couldn't afford a car at that time nor did I need one. I didn't win the car for free.

Fast forward 2 years:
Need a car. Test drove the Ford Focus ZX5, Pontiac Vibe (hated the Toyota dealers..so no Matrix), and a Protege 5. Liked the Vibe best. Protege 5 felt like an older generation car. Spec didn't match up well with the Vibe.
So, I was driving to finalize the deal with the Vibe when I saw the 3 parked infront of a dealer lot. When I was looking at the Pro5 earlier, that dealer didn't have the new 3. I think he was trying to get rid of the pro5 on me. Well, I stopped to test drive the 3 5-door and the rest is history.

Impressions:
Pretty soon during my test drive, I realized that I had to postpone my buying decision for the Vibe. The Mazda3 feels like a mid-sided car... the interior, the controls, the engine. But the price is still in the compact range.

I got it in the Seattle (Glen Grant Mazda) area for $350 above invoice (plus $500 off the total for New Grad rebate..so technically, I got it below invoice :) ). I talked to a few dealers. Some were sleazy. Here, they knew I did my reasearch..so I got a deal done in about 15 minutes. Yes, 15 minutes. No beating around the bush: Test drive car, give specs for my car, find my car at a dealer in Portland, negotiate the price (I used Edmunds).

First week:
I had it for about 1 week. The colour blue is pretty unique. It looks cool during the night/ low-light areas. A similar yet different blue.
Seat/ steering controls are very good with all the available controls. The seat height adjustment is very well done as is the steering column.
Rear space (for a compact class car) is pretty impressive. In fact the NHTSA (http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/NCAP/Cars/2004MidS.html) classifies this car as medium sized for crash tests because it is big inside...like the Vibe.
The steering wheel controls are well-thought out and useful. The dashboard is pretty good but a tad worse than the one on the 2004 Vibe. The white circle around the speedometre is not bright enough at night to give a good effect.
This car had tons of options not found in this price range: DVD nav, xenon, tire pressure, tons of air bags.
I could only afford the air bags. :-(
I have a suspicision that the keen Jetta shopper might go home with a 3 5-door rather than the Jetta wagon and save $4000.

Complaints:
1. Hard to find the options you want. It seems most cars have ABS + moonroof or just moonroof. I had to get mine from Portland..so had ~200 miles on it when I took delivery.
2. ABS is an option. Common!?!
3. Need to get Xenon to get tire pressure monitoring. Go figure!
4. Need to get Xenon to get navigation. Why?
5. Concerned about the long-term durability of the interior. Black shows dirt pretty quickly.
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Car complaints
1. On concrete highways (not the tar based highways), lots of road/tire noise. I have been told by a friend, this is the case for many cars on old concrete highways (Like the 427 in Toronto, or the 405 in Seattle). But still I don't like the noise.
2. The grab bars...only 3. None for the driver. Oh why?
3. Passenger grab bar space...err.. hard to grab the passenger grab bars. A picture might explain the problem... but I like the way they go back into place with a smooth slow motion.
4. Right arm rest. Left side is fine. The only car that I drove that had a proper right hand arm rest was the Oldsmobile Intriguge I rented. And I have driven about 30 different cars.
5. Rear hatch handle to open the hatch. All the dirt & snow on the bumber gets on your hands. Bad design.
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You might think I'm complaining a lot, but this is a long post.
Benefits:
1. Cost Vs. Value. I feel that I'm getting a mid-size car for an econo-price. I mean how many other econo cars have such great handling, brakes, interior, emissions, and safety? I think zero as of today.
2. Handling.. Ihave to mention this again. With the 150 lb/ft. torque engine, this car is a joy to drive around corners or other cars. Just take it to an empty parking lot at night and experiment. :)
3. Engine/Transmission. They are so smooth.
4. The passenger space. Excellent for a compact.
5. Exterior styling. Pretty good and they didn't cheap out on the parts: 17" V-rated tires, fog lights, good standard lights (no xenon)

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That's the end of my long post. Overall, I am happy with the car though new cars hit the wallet pretty hard. I'm so glad I test drove the 3 before going the GM dealer to buy the Vibe.
For those still deciding, test drive the car a few times and test drive the other cars (Vibe, Focus, Matrix, Jettas). You will feel the difference.
Zoom-Zoom.

EDIT: Topic heading :twisted:
 

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Congrats!! Very complete review of likes AND dislikes. At least the dislikes seem to be minor, and the more important factors, such as engine, transmission, styling, features, are positives to you. What do you dislike about the dash ( you say you like the Vibe better)?

You made a great choice :) You get 30 more hp, similar interior room, more innovative features ( lighted steering wheel controls, under cargo area storage, huge glovebox), better styling ( looks more sleek/sporty IMO), and better handling. Once again, congrats on your first new car!
 

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Wow, are those grab bars really such a big deal to you? They seem to be the major source of complaints. I like it too, though, how they're slow with retracting.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yeah, I don't really have any *real* negatives... I had to search hard for the grab handles. :oops:

In terms of the interior dashboard lighting, it's great; better than the older lighting in other cars. I just would've liked a different colour combination (White digits, red lines/markers, & black background vs. Purple background, red digits and lines & black background). My preference... nothing really wrong.

The biggest thing for me is that, upon looking back, if I hadn't test drove the car, I would be driving something else.

The handling, safety, and engine is simply not available at this price range until now.

Here's to competition and progress: Mazda 3s
 

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road noise; I have the same complaint. Is it just the GoodyearRSA's or do even the stock 16" tires on the I have the same road noise?
 

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It's ALIVE....... It's ALIVE...... mmmuuuuhhhhaaaahhhhaaaa....... I think I will call him Pepper, because he really spices up our lives........



No Pepper... Bad Pepper.... Bad.. Bad Pepper.....
 

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Well, since it was brought up, albeit a year late...

I had a 2002 Cavalier that had the eagle RS-As on it, and on that car in particular they were noisy as hell. I can't say I have that problem with my 3 though.
 
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