2006 Mazda Mazda3 s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
This is an awesome compact car. Call it a hatch or a wagon, it does not matter- it's a great ride with utility. It has plenty of room for my small family, and is an excellent commuter or canyon carving car. Vehicles like this prove that a gas slurping SUV is not necessary in most cases. I am able to nimbly avoid traffic situations rather than drive over them. The mechanicals and refinement are excellent, and beats the new Civic hands down (drove the new 06 EX before I bought this) - no contest if you love to drive. If you are happy driving a boring car, buy the Civic or a Corolla and be happy. I drive "spirited" with the 5M (superb!) and average 30.4 mpg after 10,500 miles. Excellent buy!
It is a DRIVERS car! Everything works like a Swiss watch - very finely tuned. Power, manual transmission, RELIABILITY! and MPG are excellent. The handling is on par with BMW's of 5 years ago (thats a great thing!) Oh yeah, Winning blue rocks!
Scrap the factory Goodyear RS-A's - they do not do this car justice, especially in winter weather. Buy a set of dedicated snows and drive competently and safely. The carpet quality is cheesy, but hey, I'm driving, not looking at the carpet while in motion. Heated mirrors would be nice too.