Well, here's a tribute to our car, which is about to hit 100,000 miles on its odometer. (Apologies go out to all of the flesh-n-blood people that I've forgotten to wish happy birthday to lately)
Here are a handful of lesser-discussed features and details that the engineers and designers deserve credit for:
* Rear windows that go down all the way. (most other cars I've been in won't retract more than 75% down)
* Red instrument panel lights to help preserve your night vision. (newer versions of the car use blue)
* The most responsive tiptronic transmission I've seen in any car I've driven with tiptronic transmission. (most have a full second or so of lag before deciding to honor your request to shift, and abruptly shift automatically for you.)
* The automatic transmission mode promptly downshifts for you when it detects you riding the brakes going downhill.
* The automatic transmission shows you what gear the car is in on the instrument panel. (most cars I've seen just show "D" until you switch to tiptronic mode)
* The tiptronic transmission toggles the "right" way to upshift / downshift (by pulling back / pushing forwards)
* Low center console doesn't obstruct the space between you and your passenger
* Tie-down hooks in the hatch area, since the thing can pull 0.85gs laterally.
* Braking performance of a sports car. In every accident I've seen involving a Mazda3, they've always been rear-ended by someone behind them who couldn't stop as swiftly. So whenever I have to jam on the brakes as traffic comes to a sudden halt, I spend more time worrying about what's happening in my rear-view mirror than what's in front of me.
* Never thought I would be a sunroof person, but I do really appreciate being able to look up at tall trees and buildings.
OK, so I have one nag:
* When I switch the the temperature control to cold to get some fresh air out of the vents, it automatically turns on the A/C and recirculation. I just want fresh air that's not heated!