For knowledgeable driving enthusiasts, Mazda’s mainstream lineup is one of the unsung heroes of the automotive industry. While most people know the company for the RX-7, and MX-5 (Miata), what many non-enthusiast car buyers don't realize is the driver-oriented philosophy behind both of those cars is infused into every other car the company builds.
Therefore, while consistently underrated, Mazda nevertheless builds cars that are truly fun to drive. In fact, a few years ago the company mounted a marketing campaign with the tagline, “Zoom-Zoom”, an apt description of the athleticism exhibited by its cars. That said, the subject of this used car buyer's guide—the awkwardly named Mazda Mazda3—is an excellent case in point.
With its refined engines, agile handling, sharp steering, and reassuring brakes, the Mazda3 is a compact sports sedan disguised as an economy-oriented family car. That Mazda also has a penchant for endowing its cars with a generous level of standard features—as well as nice interior designs—only serves to make the Mazda3 even more of an endearing proposition.
Introduced to North America in 2004 as a replacement for the Mazda 323/Protégé series of cars, the Mazda Mazda3 is a car deserving of considerably more attention than it garners. Two generations of the Mazda have been produced since its introduction, with the second generation appearing for model year 2010.