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Discussion Starter #1
I have just test driven a 3 "S" sedan with the sport package( 17" wheels, side sills) and moonroof/6cd package. Lets just say I loved it!!

I walked in, and the saleslady who greeted me was very nice and knowledgeable about the features of the car. She started the car to pull it out of the row of Mazda3's and I noticed from outside of the car how quiet the engine was starting up ( it was a cold engine). I got in the driver's seat and noticed how great the gauges looked at night- not too bright, just right. It took me a while to feel for the power mirror switch in the dark, but the control felt smooth and substantial. The same can be said for the auto shifter handle ( nicely weighted). Also the vision outside/around the car was very good, and I didn't feel "surrounded" as some people seem to think could happen with a black interior and higher beltline.

Now the fun began!:) I didn't notice any throttle delay, and in fact I was surprised how responsive it was( almost too responsive- if there is such as thing :lol: ). I pulled out onto the main road, and I was shocked that it went up to about 5500 rpm, and I wasn't pressing the gas that hard. It made my Contour V6 feel like an elephant in comparison. I went on back roads with little/no street lights and had to ask if the headlights were halogen or xenon because they were so bright/clean light. She said they were the halogen, but I did notice there was a distinct cuttoff point, but she seemed to know her stuff, so I will believe her. There is no reason I think to get the Xenon if I thought the regular halogen were Xenon during the drive. The handling was very good around curves, the tires transmitted low amounts of road noise , and the ride was very controlled and certainly better than my Contour :wink: The trans downshifted very quickly, and the engine noise was slightly above average during acceleration, but the sound was pleasing, and quieted down during cruising.

I did notice that there was a slight metallic rubbing/vibration sound near the right side of the dash/engine area during acceleration, but was non- existent during cruising. Has anyone else notice this?

The highway rpms were fairly high (as we all know), but I didn't notice the higher rpms compared to my Contour, and wind and road noise were well supressed ( even around the moonroof).

I know this car will be good in a accident avoidance situation, because as I went to re-enter the dealership driveway, I almost drove past it, and hard to make a quick right turn, and it handled it like it was a slow turn
( no leaning :) ). Plus, the brakes have a good pedal feel and stopped shorter than I thought they were going to when I approached a stop light at a more than normal speed :)

I loved the interior lighting and controls. They all felt like quality, and had good weight to them. I noticed that the controls are all very close to the driver (less reaching), and certainly a change from my Contour. The radio knobs were easy to grab and smooth turning. The console and cup holder lids were nice quality plastics, and the glove box is certainly huge! The seats are comfortable and well supportive, and the fabric looks like it will hold up well over time. The back seat of the sedan had very good leg room as measured from where I set the driver's seat ( no knee touching the backs of the seat). I am 5'8" and I had about 3" of head room left until I hit the headliner. The trunk opening is a bit oddly-shaped but has very good volume, and the trunk lid had good weight to it.

Sorry for the long post, but I just wanted to tell people how nice this car is , and if anyone is still on the fence, the Mazda3 will not disappoint you :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have just taken my second test drive, WITHOUT the saleswoman, YEAAAAYYY!

Earlier this morning I went to my credit union, and got preapproved for a loan, and immediately after I drove over to the drive the Mazda3 again, and discuss Mid-late March availability of Sunlight Silver S sedans.

I decided to use the manumatic function for most of the drive, and it is downright fun! The shifts were crisp, and I didn't notice a delay at all.

There was one problem that I hope was specific to this car. When using the sportshift (but not in regualr auto mode), as I was accelerating there was a horrible grating, rattling sound starting from the right side of the dash and spreading across the whole dash. Plus there was very noticeable wind noise coming from the bottom of the windshield only. It continued periodically when cruising, but when away as soon as I switch to auto mode at the next stop sign. I have no clue what it could be, and am not sure if the noise was interior related or engine related. Could it be the auto clutch that controls the manumatic function making noise?

Otherwise, this car is sooo fun to drive on side roads, and as opposed to the TROLL :) who said it is kinda slow in the one thread, even with the auto, this car is plenty quick. The tire notice was present , but at a low level which was not bothersome. I love the steering feel, and body control on sharp turns.

I discussed availability, and the saleswoman said that one is coming in Mid-late March ( perfect timing for me :)) I just have to call her in early March and put down a $100 refundable deposit to hold the car, and it will be mine. I decided to go with the Sunlight Silver sedan as described below, and chose to splurge and get the Xenon/TPMS package. Hopefully $$ discussions will go smoothly, and I will be a Mazda3 owner by April.
 

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Why are these test drive posts always filled with such joy? :D
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am starting to think that since my reviews have been very positive, and not full of illiterate writing, or "this car is not that great" sentiments, nobody has anything to say to about my reviews. :(

I am surprised no one has offered an opinion to what the horrible noise was that I experienced during my drive today. I guess no one has experienced anything like this, and this was an isolated case ( the car had 10 miles on it).
 

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I read it!

What really helps with long posts is to space it out into chunks... never mind, you chunked it :)

Umm... sometime it takes a while for people to respond. I had posted my review for a while and it took about a week before I got more than 3-4 posts on it.
 

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For the windshield noise, it cold be something as simpe as loose/missing weatherstripping (Protege issue in 2001, EASILY solved by dealer in minutes).

For the other noise, didn't hear it before...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I made sure that I told the saleswoman to drive the car again so she could hear the noise, because I wouldn't want anyone else to hear the noise and think the car is a piece of crap (the noise was that bad).
 
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