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Driven: the Mazda3 4 Door Sedan 2.5

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If you want to make a bit more of a unique statement than the Civic or Corolla allows you do have options. With gas prices as crazy as they are economy cars like the Mazda3 now make perfect sense. And the unique angularity and giant grin coming from the 3s front grille all conspire to make this one of the most exciting compact cars on the market today (not that this is hard with cars like the Nissan Sentra on the market).

 With a 167 horsepower four cylinder the Mazda3 four door sedan turns back fuel economy figures of 22 city/29 highway. That is impressive for a four cylinder of that size, displacement and power. With the six speed manual transmission this is one fun to drive car. It may not be quite as fun as a Miata but it is close.

 Front seat room is ample while the rear seat is big enough for occasional passengers. If I was a parent looking for a fine first car for my college or high school student I would definitely put the 3 near the top of my shopping list. Either that, or I would give the kids my hand me down car and keep the 3 for myself.

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