Mazda Repair Questions? Ask Mechanics for Answers ASAP
Dean, I am not a Mazda certified tech but I've seen your question on here for some time and I'd like to try to help. First off, it does to me sound like the pump is weak. I would tend to agree that a flush is the best place to start. Also, have you had an alignment done? If the steering angles are off it could definitely cause some hard to turn issues.
Its possible that there has been an issue since it was new but not very likely. There really is no way to test the pump unfortunately. I have heard that mazda has had issues with the electric assist pumps like in your vehicle so I'm definitely leaning that way. It could be an issue with the steering rack but usually when a rack goes bad it starts leaking or making a clunking noise when turning. A certified technician for any brand is someone who has worked at a dealership and been trained at the factory facility. Anyone who works on a specific brand can say that they are a "brand x" mechanic but it doesn't mean that they actually have been trained in the brand.
If my answer has helped you, please help me by rating or accepting my answer. This does not cost you any more, it just allows me to be credited for my work. You can always ask follow up questions after rating or accepting. Thank you.