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i got a 3 as a loaner car today while my 6 was having some warranty work done. So of course i had to go flog it. I guess sometimes i forget the 6 is a bigger cer until i drive something like the 3. The 3 handles way better, and this makes me sad. I theorize that once i get my racingbeat springs and bars in it might handle almost as well as a stock 3. damnit
but then again, i wanted a more grown up car, and that's what i got.
 

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My brother had a 04 3 with the 2.3 which was the optional larger engine that year. His car felt WWAAAYYY peppier than my 6 with the 2.3. I realize That the 3 is lighter BUT it felt like an entirely different power plant. The 3 is definately a cool car.
 

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My fiance and I just purchased a Mazda 3 5-door! She even got it with a manual transmission - I didn't have to convince her, she actually preferred to get a manual (it's her first one) I'm so happy. Now my garage has twice as much zoom, and now I can drive her 3 instead of my 6 if I get the urge. :drive:

 

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That's just the exact opposite of my impression of the 3 I got as a rental today. The steering isn't nearly as sharp as the 6, although the lighter weight is noticeable. The engine and 4 speed autostick are uninspiring, the 2.3 would probably make quite a difference. I would buy one if I needed a smaller car, for its class it has a ton of room up front and headroom is epic. I still like my 6 a hell of a lot more though...
 

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I have an 03 6s V6 and the local dealership has given a 3 twice when I dropped my car off for some work. The 3 was a fun car for the few hours I had, but once I got my 6 back, I was so happy. I life the bigger feel of the 6.
 

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The first thing I noticed in the 3 is that the steering wheel felt so much heavier. Maybe the 6 has a lot more assist or something, but it was a very obvious difference. The clutch is also a lot lighter, and took some getting use to coming from the 6. Overall, the car is a lot of fun, but I can't say I prefer it over the 6.
 

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The 3 has electric steering if I'm not mistaken...or was that the 8? The 6 is standard hydralic off a pump driven by the crank.
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The 3 does have electric steering which I really like (my last car had it). I like how the 3 handles, but I find it very uncomfortable for me (6'3") to drive especially without cruise. I've had the same Mazada3 loaner 3 times already and it handles abuse very well. I really do hate that car though because it has power nothing. It sucks going from a fully loaded 6 to a very basic 3. As much as I like how the 3 handles, I'm very happy to get back in my 6.
 

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The wifey has the 04 mazda3 w/ the 2.3L and i have the 6 w/ the v6. Her car is indeed fun to drive but I do prefer the size and power of the 6. Her car does handle well though. Her car has had 0 problems, while mine has had wayyyyyyyy too many.
 

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I got a 3 as a loaner today as well. I had an oil leak and the dealership is replaceing the rear main seal. I got a 5 door with the 2.3 and autostick. It handles very well. I love the tight turning radious, I know it's a smaller car but you all know that the 6 makes a very wide arc. The engine is quite peppy. I have drivin a 3 with a manual and loved it. You can tell that the inteior is of lesser quality but it's not horrible. The sound system is much, much better than the Bose that came with my 6. I love my 6, but if the 3 had come out before the 6 I'd have bought one.
 

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That's just the exact opposite of my impression of the 3 I got as a rental today. The steering isn't nearly as sharp as the 6, although the lighter weight is noticeable. The engine and 4 speed autostick are uninspiring, the 2.3 would probably make quite a difference. I would buy one if I needed a smaller car, for its class it has a ton of room up front and headroom is epic. I still like my 6 a hell of a lot more though...
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My friend was saying the same thing. She also found the interior quality unimpressive (on par with the 1998 Nissan 200SX she had before her Mazda6).

Overall, her question was why anyone would buy a Mazda3 when you can get the Mazda6 for just a little bit more.
 

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I remember my road test in the 5 door 2.3 .... as soon as I stepped on the gaz I found it peppy to my surprise and the handling was sweet , but I couldn't stand feeling tight up front , esp. with my right leg constantly against the side of the console ; I figured that would bother too much in the long run like on a hot day . There's a lot of things to like with the 3 , and then again there are some that I could'nt live with . Can't say that with my 6 it's got all the creature comforts & looks with adequate zoom :)
 

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I drove the 3 a few times as a loner. I love how it has the fuel economy meter on it and also estimated mileage left. The 6 has it too, but it was disabled for the NA market. :( The thing I hate about the 3 though is the hand brake is to the right of the shifter. I like it where the 6's is, between me and the shifter, cause that's where I rest my hand when not shifting. With the 3, I gotta reach my hand over to rest it there. Guess I just wasn't used to it. I do like the way the 3 handles, I don't like the crappy turning radius we have with the 6, but I like how my 6 is more luxurious and bigger though.
 

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i've test driven the 3 on two separate occassions and after each time i wound up buying a 6. the 3 is over-priced and under equipped.
 

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If I had it to do over with, I would buy a 3 with the 2.3 liter with MTX, with that bright blue (forgot the actual name of it). Like the one they show in the commercials.

The 3 was a lot peppier and smoother driving than my '06 6i. I like the looks more of the 6, but the 3 isn't bad at all, especially the new ones. I personally like the hatch best though.

I'm very dissapointed about the low end power of the 6i. I understand it's a 4 cylinder, but it's the slowest low end 4 cylinder I've ever been in. The Dodge Neon that I had as a loaner while the 6i was getting a TCM/PCM reflash had more low end power than my 6i, but sucked after about 4.5k rpm. If I could mix the 6i high end with the Neon's low end it would be all right. :D

The other two 4 cylinder cars I've owned were a Geo Prism with 100hp (which had more low end power) and a Honda Prelude with 195hp and VTEC. The 6i doesn't compare to VTEC at all. Honda's got that science down, no question.

Looking back on it I would either go with a Mazda 3 or if I went out of the Mazda world, the new Civic (the SI model though!). I realize now I don't need as big a car as the 6, but it's no big deal. Bigger is better for protection in an accident anyway, especially with a complete airbag system.
 
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