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It's been a long, long day so I'm just going to do a run through of my first impressions on my first day with my new Mazda3. The dealer experience will be posted soon but it was extremely dramatic so I need more time than I have now to write about the entire experience.

First, the specs on my new beauty (to be named):

2008.5 Metropolitan Gray Mica Mazda3s GT
Transmission: Automatic
Options: Six cd changer, Bose sound system and Moonroof. Rear spoiler, remote start and auto dimming mirror with compass.

First Impressions

It's worth noting that when I first picked the car up we jetted out of the dealership to escape an impending storm. The storm was supposed to bring 2.5 inch hail, thunderstorms and there was a possible tornado warning about 20 minutes away from the dealership. All this in New York! :blink:

I'm coming from a 2005 Infiniti G35x loaded with every possible option so while I adjusted my expectations for the lower price point (I paid $22K with s-plan) I was not prepared for the way the Mazda3 would blow me away.

1) Remote Start - I can't believe how wicked cool remote start really is. Manufacturers are finally starting to offer remote start as an accessory that is installed at the port and I recommend it 200%. Its perfect for every possible hot/cold day when you don't feel like running out in the weather to start the car so it can warm up only to run back INTO the house and finish getting ready. Remote start is something I could see myself not living without ever again and it wasn't an option on the Infiniti so +1 to Mazda for offering it. For the 2008.5 mid-year refresh, Mazda has integrated the remote start into the regular key fobs so now you won't have two sets of control keys to use on one set.

2) Rain Sensing Wipers - If you've never seen it, you wouldn't believe it. When I was driving home I thought my rain sensing wipers weren't working properly because the stalk appeared to be in the right position and it was raining pretty hard. I fiddled with the stalk for a little bit and discovered that it was in its "Off" position rather than "Auto". Once it's in the right position it works quite well but I don't think putting "Off" and "Auto" next to each other was the best idea in the world.

3) The Manual Leveling HIDs - I don't know if it's manual really. It's kind of both actually. You rotate the switch until you reach the number you want and the car adjusts the headlights to match that setting. The leveling headlights are not gimmicky at all and were pretty helpful tonight while driving through fog and raising the headlights to watch for deer. Another brilliant feature my G35x was missing.

4) Aux Input - This is the golden feature for me! For the longest time (since 2005) I have always wanted a way to play my iPod in my car. I can't even begin to count the number of trips and meetings I've been late to while waiting for a cd to burn so I didn't have to listen to the same old crap in my car while driving there. In fact, I wanted the aux input so bad that I refused the CX-7 purely based on its lack of an aux input and it was worth it ten times over. I love being able to plug my iPhone into the stereo and just scroll through the playlists to find a list I'm feeling right now. It works seamlessly and I really couldn't be more ecstatic over this feature.

5) The Ride - Most people are going to give me a :confused1: look but I'm telling you the 2008.5 Mazda3s GT has a better ride than my 2005 Infiniti G35x. Not only does it ride better but it's much quieter and it doesn't make Mom motion sick when I drive with her in the car. :thumbup: all around!

So those are my top five favorite things about the car. Overall it's really just an experience that new car buyers have to try to believe because it's extremely uncommon at this price point. I'm finally excited to drive to different places just to be in the car and I love everything about it! If you don't own one, buy one. If you own one, buy a 2008.5 model! The new trim, power driver's seat, gauges and everything in between are worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Second day of ownership quick update: This car is amazing! I went out with some friends tonight and although the car stands out in its own way I didn't feel like I had this huge expensive car that I had to watch where I parked it. It's a lot less stressful owning this car in a lot of ways. The power is still outstanding, the ride is really comfortable and the interior is first class!

My only quip so far is that I wish the HIDs covered more vertical space. They are pretty bright right now but I wish they would go further and shine more vertical light at night. I think I might be able to fix this by buying new HIDs. What's the K rating for the stock HIDs?
 

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your HID's can go further, i told you i can reaim them! thats what i did to mine i can even put them out more to the sides if u wanted
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thought about that when I had my old Subaru actually. I live in the boonies and there are no street lights so it's either headlights or darkness. I need the light! :D
 

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It was a '97 Subaru Legacy L. It had like 135 hp 4 cylinder and AWD. Trust me, it wasn't going anywhere fast!
 

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Oh ye drama... The whole car buying experience as a whole sucked because the dealership never kept me in the loop on when the car would arrive and the salesperson called me three weeks after I ordered the car and left a high pressure voicemail asking if I was still interested in a Mazda3 yadda... So I called him right back and he had no idea who I was and then told me the car would be ready in April even though I ordered a mid year model three weeks before.

Then the word was that the car would arrive in early June first or second week and it didn't arrive until the third week. I had to call through the entire chain of command until I finally got through to the general manager who was very helpful in guiding me through the transaction from there.

When they called to let me know the car had arrived we sent all of our paperwork to the salesperson and he forgot we had S-Plan so I had to resend the S-Plan info to him. Afterwards I called to see when we could pick up the car and I was told we could get it at 4 pm that day so we arrived around 4:10 pm and none of the paperwork had been started so we waited an hour for the paperwork. We just sat in the waiting area waiting for someone to let us know what was happening until I got sick of waiting after an hour and tracked down the salesperson to find out wtf was going on.

Apparently I interrupted lunch because they had to drag the finance guy out of someone else's office with food to draw up the finance paperwork that should have been done before we got there. We went through the whole story with the sales manager and he sympathized with us and offered a GPS system to us as a consolation but I told him that I was going to give the dealership a bad review because of how terrible the customer experience had been so he took the navigation system back (!) and thanked me for being honest.

We jetted out quick because there was supposed to be a major storm coming in with golf ball sized hail and I didn't want the car to get wrecked on its first day of ownership. When we got home I realized that the dealership never gave us any of the paperwork for the car so I called them to see what the interest rate was because I asked for the June promotion rate of 3.9% for 60 months as per the Mazda USA website.

Turns out they gave us a 4.9% interest rate instead so we had to drive 30 minutes BACK to the dealership that night to sign a new contract at 3.9% and pick up the paperwork. By the time everything was all said and done I think everyone was surprised at how terrible the experience had been so the general manager of the dealership brought us upstairs and gave us a GPS system anyway because there wasn't really much else they could do at that point.

Would I buy a car there again? Absolutely not. From top to bottom the experience was very poor. Had I not been educated about the entire process and following up with them who knows if I would even have the car now.

Would I get the car serviced there? Again, no. I think the service department was fine -- the people were nice enough but with the way everything else had gone there I don't want to chance the car in the service area.

But the end result is that I love the car and I'd buy another one - just not there. The biggest issue was with the salesperson not following up and letting me know of the progress of the car. You need to let people know when they can reasonably expect a car to arrive and I didn't know the approximate arrival date until a few days before it arrived. The car sat at port from May 24th to mid-June when it was delivered to the dealership which is also a wonder. It shouldn't take that long to do a rear spoiler, remote start and auto dim mirror.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I got the dealership survey in the mail from Mazda today. I think I might fill that out tonight! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #20
My remote start stopped working at 6700 miles. When I try to use it the car starts (remotely), shuts off, starts up again for a few seconds, shuts off and repeats. Someone I know said it could be the relay so I'm going to take it down to a competent Mazda dealer in NJ and see if they can fix it.
 
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