Mazda3 doesn’t scream: look at me, look at me. But that’s just fine. What really makes a car attractive is a relentless affiliation for the things that make driving fun – things like great steering, snappy horsepower, and interior comfort. Mazda3 does all that with gusto. Changes are minimal for 2005: Sirius satellite radio is available, and the 15-inch wheels grab a new design cover. Nonetheless, Mazda3 still struts its stuff. The hood scoops covering the three gauges hit a good visual note as does the reddish orange dashes that flow from the audio zone as a dial is turned. The seats present a good support zone, and the tweed and solid seat fabric combination compliments the car’s interior cues.

The car is offered in four and five door versions with either a 2.0-liter or 2.3-liter engine. Front wheel drive Mazda3, with four-wheel independent suspension, is nicely muscled with the 2.3-liter four-cylinder that produces 160 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 150 pounds-feet torque at 4500 rpm. By its exterior shape, the trunk appears to be a bit small, but don’t fall for the deception. This is a trunk befitting a much larger car. And the 60/40 split fold rear seats just add to the storage space. Mileage estimates on the 4-door, 2.3-liter powered Mazda3 with automatic transmission offering manual upshift/downshift is 24 city, 29 highway. MSRP is $16,615.