Previous to this, I had a Mazda Protege5 and that was fun and I had gotten great gas mileage regardless of how I drove it. Recently I got a Mazda 3s and it is fun to drive but my protege was more fun. The biggest issue I have with it is yes, we get more performance but your gas mileage suffers greatly depending on how you drive. My style of driving has been the same and yet I'm getting just barely 22 mpg around town and if I'm lucky I'll get 28 on the highway. The car is a blast to drive but the 16in rims and tires make the car feel less responsive but otherwise it's a great car.
The engine, dashboard, clutch engagement, steering wheel buttons, all the extra storage spots.
I'd like to suggest improvements but 2010 is already out...