2005 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx LS 4dr Hatchback (3.5L 6cyl 4A)
I have nearly 10k miles on it and the Maxx has been a great car. For mostly highway driving I have been getting between 27-31 mpg. The interior may lack some design elements, but I don't like the "wood" look, so I am pleased with it. It rides well and there have been virtually no creaks, etc. The two aspects to consider are, the width of the trunk is not as wide as on a mid-size sedan, and a smaller issue is the shades on the rear window snap in the wind. A small modification I made has fixed it for me thus far. You will notice during a test drive the car will need to downshift rather quickly - but if you need to get moving, it will get moving. The electronic steering works well
The price is hard to beat with the rebates (about $16.5k+ tax for me). The ability to change the interior configurations is the reason I bought and I have only grown to like it more.
More powerful engine if it doesn't cost mpg. Fix the shades. Wider trunk interior. The ability to customize the pedal and seat positioning and then save the settings for two different people.