It's no secret that I hold the Mazda 3 in high esteem, high enough that I bought one brand new 3 years ago this month. And I was surfing around and found a short but sweet piece by Dave Thomas of Kicking Tires blog, with video, reviewing the 2010 3.
While I love my 3, I'm the first to say it's got a face only a mother could love. I bought it not on looks, although I've seen much much worse, but value and performance. To be 100% honest I bought it partly because it was the closest thing I could get to a European Ford Focus here in the US. The new 3 also has love/hate styling, but it's still got that Zoom Zoom factor that can't be denied.
When I was shopping for a new car 3 years ago, I went in with an open mind, no bias even though I love Ford. I test drove the Chevy Cobalt ( which was very good ) Dodge Caliber ( which had very interesting packaging and pricing ) and several others from both domestic and foreign manufacturers. I had specific criteria, most important was value and funcionality. It came down to the Caliber and 3 in a direct showdown. My brother had recommended a dealer than sold both brands and we arranged a direct comparison test drive. It's obvious which won, the Mazda had more power, better handling and higher quality perception.
My 3 gets 30 mpg on the highway, over 20 mpg on a suburban loop and is just tons of fun on twisty roads. The only major options I didn't get were the slushbox and navigation.
So, click on over and watch Dave give you the rundown on the latest 3.