2007 Mazda 3 s Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
For the money, you won't find a better driving hatchback out there (minus the Mazdaspeed3, GTI, STI, etc. of course). Typical Mazda steering, powerful brakes, and fantastic grip. If the aforementioned are more important to you than mpg, the Maz3 is definitely worth a look. Fuel economy is ok, but certainly not great for a compact, as has been said by many others. Driving from CA to NY (all interstate with speeds around 75-80), I averaged around 30 mpg. A typical tank with mixed city and hwy driving will yield 22-26 mpg. For those who cannot see their gauges in daylight, you need to push that little button on the instrument cluster to alternate your dash lighting - there are two modes
Steering, handling, brakes. Versatile interior layout (was able to transport a full-sized clothes dryer with some room to spare), classy interior design. For the money, you won't get a better feature set on a car.
Snowflake wheels are awful. The Bose system really should have mp3 capability (2008 and later models do), interior plastics are hard and scuff easily.