"Spirited driving, upscale interior for under $25K"4.0 starson by raymondg57
Pros: Agressive styling, solid chassis feel and peppy performance that tracks corners better than my 06 Inifinity G35 sedan. GT has a quality interior (worthy of a sport/lux car) with lots of technology to enhance the experience.
Cons: Factory nav system is clunky to use and adjust settings. Map data is copyright 2007, which is not what should come on a 2010 car (hello Mazda). Again, Bose in-car audio option is overrated; really diappointing sound quality compared to others.
Summary: This car makes a statement on a budget. It's fun-looking and fun to drive with a near-sport luxury feel to the ride and interior. Great low-end torque makes for fun city driving, even if the the mileage is not stellar. The Bluetooth audio plays well with my phone, easily handling calls and playing Pandora, podcasts or music from the phone's storage card. Mazda may have chosen the Bose audio option for the brand name sales value, and not for the outstanding sound quality. It will likely sound fine to most buyers, but for audiophiles not so much.Mazda offered to reimburse me for purchasing the 2010 map data card for my 3's nav system. I faxed them my online receipt and got a check 2 weeks later. Thanks Mazda! The nav interface is still clunky, but at least Mazda did right to fix me up with the current map data (that should have come with the car in the first place). Mazda gets an "A" for customer relations.
I like the styling of the hatch, and it's versatile for hauling weekend gear or larger items from the store.
The biggest downside is the factory navigation, made by Densu, because the interface logic is not intuitive (compared to a Garmin) requiring a trip to the navigation manual to find where simple settings are burried. And even then, some of the routing on my trips has been unexplainable, sending me on pointless detours on surface roads when staying on the interstate is the best route. So, buying the options package just to get the nav system might not be the best choice.
Overall, a sporty, economical, fun driving car that offers a sport luxury experience (almost).
Updated on Nov 4, 2010