Mazda hit the youthful demographic with the original (2 million sold) and that should continue. Interestingly, the new Mazda 3 uses virtually the same platform that gave the original its signature stiff ride and handling characteristics.
There are two body styles - hatchback and sedan - and a choice of three trim levels and four powertrain options.
There's also a list of features most economy cars lack: adaptive front lighting with self-leveling bi-xenon headlamps, electro-hydraulic steering, automatic climate control and heated seats. The already-comfortable front seats have been upgraded and Bluetooth and mp3 interface is part of the Bose standard sound system.
We're particularly fond of the five-door hatch with the bigger four-cylinder engine (a 2.5-liter producing 167 horsepower and 168 lb.-ft. of torque) for that little extra Zoom-Zoom.