Granted about the road noise but I was mostly addressing complaints from Rnbarg which includes HUD, lack of carplay, hatch, etc. One test drive would have revealed all those things.
So let me address some the recent comments about my decision making process. First, I'm sorry about the snarky tone, sayonara Mazda etc. In fact, I spent a lot of time researching the Mazda 3 and had test drives on different days. I even rented a 2016 Mazda GT hatchback from getaround.com in San Francisco. I had it for an entire day.
I of course, knew about the HUD, which I didn't like, but it wasn't a deal breaker, since there was an easy DIY fix to disconnect the HUD and keep it permanently retracted. It takes all of ten minutes for someone with experience on working w/cars. I continued to critique it on his forum because it's, after all, "what DON'T you love etc". I think the HUD is distracting, even w/no text appearing and it was a cheap half measure. A number of leading car reviewers have panned it. I am assuming that systems which project the same info directly onto the windshield, a more elegant (and probably costlier system), can be turned off as a user option. The same should be true for the Mazda 3 HUD including a setting that can be remembered where it is permanently retracted. That said, this did not affect my decision process in buying the vehicle and I did discuss it w/the dealer.
I also knew about the lack of CarPlay support. It was disappointing, but not a deal breaker. I assumed that I could continue to use my iPhone the way I am using it now by simply plugging it into the audio jack or using BT to connect thru the Infotainment system. I wasn't going to spend hours testing out the infotainment system during my test drive, loading my contacts into a car computer, etc.. After getting the car, I learned that the Infotainment system got along poorly with my iPhone. For example, when I requested directions from Siri, the Infotainment system treated it as a phone call and turned off the iphone audio turn by turn directions. It also repeatedly turned on podcasts that were paused. The system defaults to turning on the FM radio if you don't have a device plugged into the audio port. I had read some bad reviews of the Mazda Infotainment, but again I was willing to overlook it. Once I got the car and realized how dsyfuctional and antiquated the infotainment system is (my own view of course), I gave my views on it in this forum, bascially contributing my experience to the overall collective knowledge here.
I was also aware, in general, about how the hatchback worked. When I rented the 2016 Mazda 3, I was in the process of moving from Marin County to the East Bay in the SF Bay Area. I put the seats down and transported a bunch of boxes. I had a lot of trouble finding the hatch unlock button. It was clearly an oversight not to look for the (mythical) hatch release button in the car that acted like a trunk release. I should have asked where' the "trunk release" button was. I would have learned that almost no (non-luxury) hatchbacks have a power liftgate. All that said, this wasnt' a deal breaker either.
The road noise, which would have been a deal breaker, had I discovered it, was not apparent. As I said in other posts, when I did my test drives, the roads were mostly in Central Marin County, a wealthy county with alot of resources, and are very well-maintained including the highways. I also relied heavily on professional reviewers opinion of the car, which are overwhelming positive. Most said the ride was pretty quiet. None that I saw identifed road noise as a big issue. I did NOT read the reviews of individual owners, the threads about noise etc. on this forum. Had I done that, I surely would have followed up and probably not purchased the car.
I was very happy with my 1994 Subaru Legacy Si Sedan with 180K miles on it before I made the Mazda purchase. It has AWD, holds the road great, and acts like a car, not a computer. The pickup on it is not great and making lane changes and merging can be challenging and its in the shop alot. That's why I decided to get a new car.
As I'm in my mid-60s w/slower reaction times, I thought loading up on a bunch of safety features (iActiveSense) was a good idea. But it turned out that I don't like a lot about new cars today. I like using a key to open my car and start it. I don't like keyfobs. I don't like having to put my foot on the break and to press a button to get ignition. I don't like infotainment displays w/their warning messages when you start the car. I want an unimpeded view of the road, meaning no taxicab, meter like boxes on the top of my dash. I am happy parking the car the old fashioned way. My car has large windows and excellent visibility. I haven't had an accident in 30 years so I'm happy to monitor my own blind spot. I also like regulating the climate myself. When I'm hot, I turn the cold air up and vice versa. I can do this in a second. When I want to get in the trunk, I just pop it from the inside. So when it comes to cars, I'm pretty low tech. I'm a minimalist. I want to drive a car, not an airplane. Less is more.
Overall I will readily admit my due diligence nce was lacking here and I have only myself to blame for my decision. I had not been in the car market for 15 years and my knowledge of cars was from the last century and I didn't ask enough questions.
All that said, it seems, with respect to not idenfitying the road noise as an issue prior to purchase, is a pretty common issue with users on this forum. There is even one thread devoted to it. Thanks for the all the excellent feedback and good luck with your Zoom Zoom experience.