The Mazda3 was on our shopping list before it was released in late 2003. Without ever driving the car, we called around trying to find when one would be available for purchase. The only basis for interest in the car was its bloodline. The Mazda3's platform, referred to as C1, was also chosen for the European successor of the Ford Focus. The Ford Focus at the time was one of our favorite compacts, light on its feet, balanced, and a blast to drive. The only downfall for the Focus was that it didn't have much of an upscale feel. Unlike the Mazda3, the Ford isn't particularly striking.
Sometimes we look at the 3 and love it, and sometimes its design is almost too busy. The hood and the rear of the
car can seem a little fussy. The sedan version seems a little more toned down, stylistically, although it lacks the
utility of this fiery orange wagon.
Ah, who cares when you?re sitting in the cockpit? So far, slinging this little pocket rocket around town has been a total blast. Every run to the grocery store or across town to the movies becomes an opportunity to flog the little Mazda. Its performance is readily accessible. Truly, we could see this car parked in our spot. The Mazda does exhibit the same dynamic feel that makes the Ford Focus such an awesome car for a driver, but the 3 is much more upscale. The availability of navigation and xenon headlights should be enough to illustrate that, but one look at the interior will knock the point home.
For the money, it has arguably the best interior in its class. The Mazda3 is well laid out, designed with the driver in mind while still providing a stylish appearance. At night, the whole dash is lit in red, orange, and blue, adding to the sporty style that oozes from every nook and cranny of this compact dynamo.