excellent steering feel (not the steering wheel though), good cornering, great straight road tracking
AWESOME brakes, good safety ratings
Almost as good as a VW rabbit/jetta, otherwise better than all others in this semi-economy class. More thoughtful in design and materials than other Asian vehicles. Ford focus is the only American vehicle that comes close.
I have been impressed with previous Mazdas I have owned. The 3 was well rated with CR and other automotive sites.
Zoom Zoom is an effective marketing strategy. The original Rx7 (which I owned) put real go-cart style sports car performance in an affordable bracket. They continue to do so with the RX8, as well as the 3 and 6