Source: MSN Autos
...This fun-to-drive four-door features great styling, a balanced chassis and a peppy 156-horsepower 2.3-liter engine, especially when combined with the 5-speed manual transmission. The suspension is not overly harsh or aggressive but is well-controlled, with balanced, predictable handling and excellent steering that is quick and precise. The leather-wrapped 3-spoke steering wheel in our Grand Touring sedan test car provided the level of road feel and responsiveness once reserved only for expensive BMWs. The interior design is clean and sporty, with well-placed controls that are easy to see and...
...The Civic is in the ballpark, but nothing beats the Rabbit. Perhaps it's the Mazda3's liberal use of piano-black trim, especially on the Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and Mazdaspeed trim levels. Gloss is bad on most surfaces, but this lacquer look is rich. Where other models cling to their fake metal trim, the Mazda3 manages to look high-quality using plastic. The interior isn't perfect, though. The center storage console could be larger, and its armrest could be farther forward for people who sit closer to the steering wheel. I find the gauges well-illuminated and legible, but they don't...
...LOWS: Stiff seats, some ride harshness, audio confusion. PERFORMANCE: The 2.3-liter four-banger in this upgraded model has decent power though not very impressive, losing some of its punch at mid-rpm. Standard engine is a 2-liter four with 148 horsepower, just 8 horsepower less than the 2.3. There's a Mazdaspeed3 performance version with a 250-horsepower turbo four, as well as tuned suspension, sport interior and a heftier price tag. DRIVABILITY: Mazda3 is an agile beast, especially when you consider its affordability. On the same platform as the S40 compact from Volvo, another Ford...
...The sedan's trunk measures 11.5 cubic feet, while the hatch has a maximum cargo area of 43.8 cubic feet when its rear bench is folded down. Available cloth or leather seating Standard 60/40 split bench Standard air conditioning (optional on i Sport) Standard steering-wheel-mounted audio controls Standard power windows and locks, plus keyless entry (except on i Sport) Optional Bose audio system (s Grand Touring) Optional navigation unit (s Grand Touring) Under the Hood The i sedans get a standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder, while s models upgrade to a 2.3-liter four-cylinder. Mechanical features...
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