At this price point, the choice is clear
By gsr on
2008 Mazda 3 New s Sport 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5A)
I love my Mazda3 hatchback. It looks good both inside and out. It scoots around well enough and shines on the twisties. A lot of car for the money. I paid $17k with a year-end $2000 rebate for the S model with an automatic. I would have preferred a stick but had to compromise with the Mrs and opt for the auto - I've been very pleased with it though and have zero regrets with this choice of transmission. The best word to described this car is "zippy". I always look forward to getting behind the wheel. My anyone would rather buy any other car in the same price range is beyond me - but I'm glad they do because 3's aren't as ubiquitous as they should be.
Steering, handling, smoothness of drivetrain - fun, fun, fun! Drives like a car that costs $10k or more.
My right knee pushes up against the center console - if the brake and gas pedal were just a tick more to the left, or if the center stack were designed to make it more comfortable to rest my knee against it, would fix it - anyway, no big deal and I'm getting used to it after just 1 week.