2008 Mazda MAZDA3 New s Sport 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5A)
Researched new 5-door for past 6 months. The Mazda3 beats every all others, hands down. The build quality is outstanding. The attention to detail and standard features in a "base model" are a lesson to other car builders. The Mazda3 automatic drives like a charm - be careful if you have other drivers in the house - it will quickly become a car of choice. The maintenance schedule is like no other - Sealed automatic transmission - no service required; 1st coolant flush - 100,000 miles; pretty much just oil changes. I recommend the Mazda extended warranty - very reasonably priced and gives you bumper to bumper coverage.
I love the interior styling - the controls were well thought out and the ergonomics are outstanding. We got the in-dash 6-cd changer and moon roof. Highly recommended.
Really, it is a stretch but power driver's seat would be a nice touch. Auto air conditioning. The intelligent key in the Nissan Versa would be a nice touch.