The Mazda3 has been generally well-received by the automotive press. In 2006 the 3 was the second best-selling car in Canada and the best selling car in Israel during 2005-2007. Mazda is increasing production of the 3 at its Hofu 1 and 2 factories to meet heavy worldwide demand of over 300,000 units per year.
The Axela is based on Ford's global C1 platform, which was developed by Mazda, Volvo and Ford and is shared with the latest European Ford Focus and Volvo S40. Based on the styling of the MX-Sportif concept car, the Axela is available in two body styles, a four-door sedan, marketed as "coupé style" in Europe, and a five-door hatchback, branded the Sport version in Canada, Japan, and the United States.
Front suspension is by MacPherson struts, with coil springs and an anti-roll bar. Rear suspension is a Ford-designed "E-link" multi-link suspension, with four locating links per wheel and an anti-roll bar, suspended on coil springs that are mounted inboard of the shock absorbers to reduce suspension intrusion into the cargo area. Disc brakes are standard at all four wheels, with 300mm (11.8in) discs front and 279mm (11in) discs rear; ABS and electronic brake force distribution are available or standard, depending on the model. Wheel and tire sizes vary with model, from 15in on base models to option 17in wheels on upper-level models.