2008 Mazda MAZDA3 New s Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
We bought my wife an 2008.5 grand touring hatch, manual transmission new in 2008. So far no problems aside from once, the power steering failed then started working again (about a year ago). I have a g35 but I take this car on the weekends -- it handles better.
The 1st to 2nd gear gap is too big -- trying to attack a san francisco hill, you need to go to 5000 RPM at least before shifting or you will lug the engine.