Though I sold my 2014 Mazda3, I continue to be a fan of the brand.

Had a chance to rent a brand new 2019 Mazda3 sedan GT FWD, auto. It feels like a different car compared to my 2014. First, the positives:

- love the shape of the car, very classy, looks like an alfa romeo from certain angles
- love the cockpit layout, great location for cup holders, plus nice shelf beyond them for a phone
- good supportive seats (leather)
- handles pretty well, although a bit firmer than I would prefer
- decent acceleration, nice engine sound (and yet comfortably quiet), pulls well around 4K
- liked sign recognition and HUD

My gripes:
- the roof line is lower, as I have to bend my head not to hit it when getting in. weird.
- poorer visibility.
- parking brake engages automatically when the vehicle is parked. need to manually remove it when starting to drive - or else floor the accelerator for it to disengage automatically, but this is not useful when coming out of a parking spot. have to disable it EVERY SINGLE TIME. looked for option to disable in settings - couldn't find it.
- the slope of the windshield is too much - i prefer a more upright windshield that i had in my 2014 mazda.
- the cluster is too busy - way too many lights and notifications.
- it's trying to be luxury, but in some annoying ways - sophisticated beeping sounds, different blinker sounds, and yet skips on backlighting of some buttons (good luck trying to find the trunk release button at night. even the climate buttons for changing direction of air flow are not lit, just have a bump for your fingers to find).
- navigating the MMI got more complex. lots of presses and turns required to tune the radio for example.

Actual issue:
- distortion in the windshield - not sure if because of steep angle or what, but it is disorienting and bugged the crap out of me. there was a spot right in front of the driver that was distorting headlights - even during the day i couldn't get used to the distortion. it's like wearing someone else's prescription glasses. maybe that was the edge of the film for HUD, dunno.

Overall, I would prefer to have previous generation - better visibility, feels simpler and yet just as functional.