By Ed Weissman on
2005 Mazda 3 s 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
Not only is this car a head-turner, it's the most fun to drive vehicle I've ever owned. Combine this with decent gas mileage (yes, there are economy cars with better mileage, but but they also have less low end torque). The auto trans is extremely smooth, the handling tight without being 'go-kartish', the suspension taut but still comfortable enough for highway driving.
Handling, audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, telescoping wheel, storage space, exterior and interior looks, auto trans
More HP and a Mazdaspeed 3. More soundproofing. Standard "screw-on" oil filter!