2006 Mazda Mazda3 s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
I deliberately waited to write this till I'd owned it 6 months and the new- purchase glow wore off. But I love my 3 as much as the day I bought it. It's quick, roomy, sharp-looking, and an utter blast to drive. Lots of room front and rear for a smallish car, lots of cargo room, all the amenities one could reasonably want standard. And on the highway the thing feels rock-solid and amazingly smooth blasting along at 80 MPH. The only drawback is that the peppy performance from the 2.3 engine does come at a cost of only so-so fuel economy. I can get up to 28-29 on the highway, but in city or mixed driving it drops appreciably. No matter. I adore this car.
Performance, room, sharp design, cool red gauges.
More soft-touch surfaces in the interior would give a more upscale feel, leaving no hint that this is an inexpensive car.