2007 Ford Focus ZX3 SE 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
The little ZX3 is not a Mazda 3 but it is its less expensive cousin with the almost same 2.0 engine less the vvt. Too bad that Ford is replacing the hatch back in 08 with a coupe, but maybe it will drive just as well. I am getting 25 mpg in town and on a trip across California and Arizona on the interstate, I got 30 mpg average on a 400 mile trip, and my ZX is an automatic. I have only had it for a few months but they have been trouble free, and Ford now has a 5 year 60K warranty just in case. It's a solid little car for the price.
Great steering and handling, smooth ride for a small car. Responsive engine, with good mileage. Quiet interior at highway speeds for a small car.
OK it isn't a Honda in finish quality, but it isn't bad ether for the price.
† Edmunds.com received the highest numerical score in the proprietary J.D. Power 2014 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study℠. Results based on responses from 3,381 responses, measuring 14 companies and measures third-party automotive website usefulness among new and used vehicle shoppers. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of owners surveyed from January 2014. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.