I recently bought a mazda 3 hatchback with manual transmission. It was a used car, and the only words that came out of my mouth when I drove it for the first time were OH WOW!! Car is incredibly fun to drive, great gas mileage, and it also looks great. Great torque, no need to down-shift when passing someone up on the expressway. Great car, fits all my friends, and the most important, fits my personality.
Great gas mileage, I get around 28-30 in the city, and around 34-37 on the highway, and its still a 2.3L. Really comfortable, great looks, and really practical with a lot of trunk space.
Maybe slightly more power :)... cant afford mazdaspeed yet :)