Hey, thanks for that, Nuse. Nice little review. I didn't realize the s was 160 (looking at sedan and the hatch.) The sedan i only has the 2.0 rated at 148 hp, which would still be adequate for me. I always did have a soft spot for the Mazda hatch. I actually like the old Protege5 version as far as looks, from back in 03.
I'm looking at this beauty on Saturday (04 s.) It's the only 3 that's around me for sale unless I travel further than I want. I lie. I should say it's the only 3 around that doesn't have a girlamatic in it....
Lava Orange Mica they call that color. With reverting back to my college days detailing touch, that thing would look stunning.
We actually looked at the Pontiac Vibe back when I was shopping for the kid hauler for the wife (new car). All I could see was "GM" though and didn't even drive or research it. I came to find out it is total Toyota and the radio is the only thing GM in it. I won't touch a GM manufactured car. I test drove a 2004 the other day. Other than the really notchy shifter, it was pretty nice. Tons of cargo room, probably a bit more than the Mazda without me looking at a Mazda yet. It is kind of halfway between a hatchback and a small "crossover" SUV style. Nice car, the versatility of it really works for what I need, but it doesn't excite me as much as the Mazda, obviously.
I still want to drive a Focus, but your thoughts there are quite the reason I am probably going to shy away from one.
Speaking of the looks of the Mazda, what's your opinion on the new models? What is that front end suppose to be? Lightning McQueen? I would be in the market next year for brand new if my old worn out Honda would make it through winter coming up and that goofy smiley front end of the new Mazda (both the 3 and the 6) just totally ruins it for me.
I see you are on mazda3forums.com. I'm looking through your build log right now. Looking pretty good. This is the forum I've been reading researching the 3. If I buy one, I'll be joining you over there.
I've read a lot of complaints about gas mileage on that forum. Glad to see positive numbers from you. I'd guess it's all about the way they drive though. My Mazda Tribute is rated for 17/21 and everyone on the forums complain about getting 16 average. I drive mine like a bat outta hell and I average 20-21. My wife use to drive it like a girl and averaged 18-19. Now she's back working and driving every day, driving like a bat outta hell coming home from work 39 miles and she now averages 20-21 like I am.
Sorry to say against your love of Mazda, but..... I'm currently driving a 94 Honda with 188k miles. Just replaced the head gasket and the motor runs like it did when Wifey's aunt bought it brand new (I drove it home for her back in 1996 from the hospital.) It's still gutless as ever with a girlamatic transmission, but the thing runs like it did way back then. So, I'm a bit partial to Honda and it's high on the list of prospects with the Mazda3 right below it. It's tough to find an under 100k mile Honda for under $10k though. I've got $9k to talk the $9995 dealers down from their price.
Gonna go check out your build log now.