Pros: "Fun to drive, sporty, reliable, good value."
Cons: "6 cylinder V6 has cooling issues on rear side."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car has been very reliable over the 13 years I have owned it. The only engineering flaw I found is that the engine is mounted transversely in a small engine compartment and rear spark plugs are not easily servicable. The heat on the rear side of the engine has caused a few of the coils on the spark plugs to fail causing a reduction in power. Fortunately, 5 cylinders still would work and get you through to the repair shop, but the repair is costly since they need to remove the valve covers to get to the rear facing spark plugs (and rear facing coils). Overall though, the transmission (manual) and clutch has been flawless. The electrics have only had minor issues (cooling fan heat sensor issue). The suspension has had no issues in 13 yrs. Tires last from 30 to 45000 miles depending on rubber softness you like. There is some road noise but it isn't too objectionable. On the pro side, the car handles very well and predictably with great cornering ability and little body roll. I've replaced the front brake pads only once and the rear pads are original (pretty long lasting). I would highly recommend Mazda as they seem to make quality durable vehicles. This is my second Mazda and my family owns three at this point. I am probably going to buy a new Mazda since this one has been pretty good."
"I bought this car because it was cheap and looks good. The tricky part is the mileage of the car 101000. The reason is that you need to change a lot to make it run smooth. I have done with transmission oil and coolant system, not yet with fuel deposit, it may not be necessary. The car has poor interior with noisy parts when moving around. Chairs are not really comfortable. On the highway, it was less balance."
Pros: "Fun to drive, reliable, smooth drive, nice styling"
Cons: "Burns through a little oil, rusts easily"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought my 04 V6 5 speed manual at 130,000 miles. This one's fully loaded with every option. And this car is something else. It really is a drivers car; the perfect smooth shifting, the continuous availability of power all throughout the rev range (V6 at least), smooth drivability, and reliability, I have such a hard time even trying to compare most new vehicles that I've driven with my 6s. I've only had to do routine maintenance. Actual parts replace in the 26,000 miles I've had this car: lower engine mount and front lower control arm. For the time this car was made, the design to me is flawless. People continue to ask me if it's a newer car only for them to be shocked when they find out it's 12 years old. If this car did not have the typical surface rust build up under the rear wheel wells (I try to keep it under control but Michigan winters...), this car would exceed the shine it has. For how sporty I continue to drive it, it never ceases to amaze me in the characteristics I listed above."
"This is a driver's car, as close to the ultimate driving machine as you can get, at any price. I leased it, then bought it at the end of the lease I loved it so much. With Ford owning 33% of Mazda at the time, a sophisticated solid lifter 4-cam V-6 and a silky smooth 6-speed automatic both built at Ford Motor Company plants in Ohio and with final assembly in a joint Ford/Mazda assembly plant in Michigan, it felt good to own as a Ford employee. Driving this car is a joy. Driving dynamics are tuned to perfection, acceleration is exhilarating at any speed, and the engine sound produces an adrenaline rush. The transmission shift quality has finesse ahead of it's time. It will upshift if you just think about it. It will hold speed on a downgrade by automatically downshifting just by lifting off the gas. After 9 years and 75,000 miles, I can't bear to replace this beautiful sporty sedan."
"I have had this car since 2008, I bought it used with about 20K miles. It is at 100K and it runs great. No issues with engine nor transmission (it's automatic). Unfortunately it is already showing some rust in wheel bases (mostly rear driver's side) and some discoloration of plastic moldings on outside.
I do hope it'll run another 100K as I hate shopping for cars."
"I love the look of the car. The fog lights are a nice touch. Plus the black interior with the dark orange, back-lit instrument display, reminds me of a BMW or an Audi. Cruising at highway speeds is possibly my favorite feel. The E-type multi-link suspension makes you feel like your floating. When you want to drive fast you can do so comfortably. The handling is quick and responsive and you feel everything on the road through your fingers on the wheel. Best part? Buying it wont break your bank account.
Drawbacks: low-end torque and transmission response at 1st gear is a little disappointing. Lastly, the seats are pretty uncomfortable on long trips (I've done several 300mile roadtrips--always fun)...and I do wish the seats were better.
Even with the drawbacks: I love this car and still love driving it 4 years after purchase."