Mazda 3 Review

One of the great mysteries in life is why Mazda isn't one of the top 5-selling automakers in the United States. There are no bad Mazdas and only one mediocre one (the B series pickup, a rebadged Ford Ranger from the previous millenium).

The great ones are really great. If you're of a certain age, you might remember that Mazda once sold a subcompact called the GLC, which the advertising told us stood for "Great Little Car". Well, the 2009 Mazda 3 is the direct descendant of the GLC and it is, more than any GLC or 3 before it, a great little car.

The five-door that leaves tomorrow after a week-long loan was roomy, smooth, quick, refined for its size class and handled like it was on rails. The quality of materials and the fit and finish are on a par with Mazda's more upscale models. If they can do it at this price, why can't every automaker?

Fluctating gas prices have made small cars and even hatchbacks an option for a huge number of American drivers in a short period of time. If you're one of them, a Mazda 3 5-door belongs near the top of your test drive list.