Mazda3 2009 review

The first-generation Mazda3's viability shows automakers that this is how you do it: Come out with a car that's so competitive when it's new that it's still a good choice years down the line. It also shows car shoppers that they don't necessarily have to wait for the redesigned 2010 Mazda3, due in the first quarter of 2009. Mazda ceased production of 2009 models at the beginning of November, but given the slow state of car sales right now, they should be readily available. Building one to order isn't an option, but Mazda says you should be able to find what you're looking for through its dealer network. A quick new-car search on Cars.com found almost 200 of them within 20 miles of our headquarters.

By way of illustration, the Mazda3 stands in contrast to the approach Chevrolet took with the Cobalt, which made its debut a year after the Mazda3, in 2005. From the start, it didn't measure up to the Mazda, Ford Focus or several others. Naturally it still trails Mazda now, and is well behind the models that have been introduced or redesigned since. It's a little too easy to take potshots at GM these days, but some signs are too clear to miss. Is it a surprise that Ford and its Mazda cousin are in better — if not good — shape?

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