2006 Mazda MAZDA3 s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
The 5-door hatch makes excellent use of interior space. I can carry my bicycle inside along with enough luggage for two people. Seats and controls are excellent. Optional leather seats are great. Gearing is a bit too short so its easy to chirp front wheels when starting with manual trans. Back seat is comfortable for two. Acceleration is snappy but runs out of power at high speeds. Gas mileage is a disappointment. I have averaged 23.5 mpg in 10,900 miles of mostly suburban driving. It was rated at 26 city, 32 hwy. Completely reliable. I'd buy it again.
Very smooth clutch and gearbox. Save $800 and 50 lbs and get the stick shift. Interior comfort and controls.
Better brakes and tires. Even with 4-wheel discs, stopping distances are just adequate. Better gas mileage. Better rearward vision.