2008 Mazda MAZDA3 s Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
The Mazda3 5-speed hatch is a great car to drive -- good handling and driving dynamics. Designed to compete with the VW Golf / Rabbit, it offers similar performance and fuel economy out of its 2.3L 156 hp engine. The only thing keeping this car from blowing out the competition is fuel economy. The next generation 3 should address these issues.
Low the ground ride. Euro-tuned suspension. Smooth engine and great manual transmission.
The car is a little "big" -- just a few inches short of a BMW 3-series wagon. Interior space needs to be reorganized (has small back seats and low cargo space for the class). Fuel economy is so-so, but understandable since it was conceived in 2003. New 2009/10 Mazda3 will be different.