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Discussion Starter #1
I got to drive the Mazda3 today by chance. I had to bring my car in for the regular maintenance, and I noticed a black demo Mazda3 GT with the GFX pkg, tinted windows, and the raised spoiler (Wow, the car looks great with that set up :shock: ).

The roads here in winnipeg are still kinda slippery so I didn't get a chance to really find out how good of a dancer this car is, but here is what I found:

Interior impressions:
The car is very nice, it has plenty of forward visibility, but the rear, and side visibility just isn't as nice as the Protege. The C pillars are a bit too wide, and head restraints from the back seat interfere with rearward visibility (at least for me). I also noticed once I got going, the seating position was a bit tall for my taste, it really felt like I was driving a much taller car (than the Protege, which in my opinion is very tall already). It also took me a while to get the right steering wheel position. Once on the road, and after I made all the adjustments, I was comfortable, but I still felt as if the car was very tall.

Driving impressions:
The car drives very well, and it is very quiet. Even with the automatic transmission, the car pulls very hard when pushed hard, and it is very easy to drive faster than intended (as I found out today). The ride is not as harsh as the Protege, but it definately feels well planted, and much more refined. Driving in the highway at high speed is no problem, the car is quiet and composed. Driving around town, I had to keep an eye out for traffic, and on the speedometer because the car is so smooth that getting tickets can be a problem for some.

At the end of the day, this car feels great even with the Auto tranny, and I would consider buying it, but I must first drive the manual.

EDIT: Edited heading for "clarity" :)
 

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Nice review!

If you can drive a 5spd, do yourself a favour and test drive one - get more smiles and save $1000.
 
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