2006 Mazda 3 s Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
Great all around car. Handles like a dream (Volvo S40 underpinnings). Brakes like a roller coaster. Quick revving engine. Auto transmission is eager to downshift, sometimes too eager. Only gripes, no MP3 input and mileage from EPA overstated. If you are considering a Civic, Corolla or a Rabbit, get your head examined. They are a joke. If you are looking at a Civic Si, look at the MazdaSpeed 3. No comparing the two.
Looks. Handling, braking, engine and build quality. Comfort (excellent but not overdone bolstering on the front seats).