The Mazda3 is a simple and honest sedan. It does everything you need it to do and without fuss, might I add.
Performance side, it has 148bhp and that is quite enough to move the car decently quickly even when fully loaded with cargo and people. The only down side is that the max torque is placed a little too high up in the rev range, 4000rpm. You'd have to step quite hard to eke out its full power. This makes moving off a little slow if you're loaded with people.
The ride and handling of the 3 is reasonably good. It offers good feedback and communication through the wheel to allow the driver to feel what's happening on the road. The suspension is tuned to be slightly harder than most sedans of this range. It thus corners well but the ride quality can be a little harsh. I'm fine with it but older folks won't like too much.
The interior is quite surprisingly well done. It feels a lot more expensive than what I paid for it. Everyone who has sat in the car before thinks so too. The materials feel solid and well made, unlike in other sedans. The split fold function adds another dimension of practicality to the car.
So far the car has been really practical and fun to drive. It even returns good mileage, about 12km/l. The only downside is that it is more of a jack of all trades and ace at none. It is competent at all it sets out to do but it just isn't exceptional. It doesn't make me gush about it.
But then again, being competent in everything is already a very good grade. It's like a straight B student. He/she isn't fantastic but he/she definitely isn't stupid.
The Mazada3 definitely isn't a bad car.