2009 Mazda MAZDA3 s Sport 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
I put 211,000 miles on my 1993 Protege without a fault. Bought a 2008 Honda Fit Sport 14 months ago and it was totaled. Drove the 2009 Fit Sport, Saturn Astra, and Mazda3 5dr and the game was over. The Mazda is much more car than the Honda and much nicer. The Astra is nice but awkward and the lack of an aux input for the MP3 player just shows a lack of consumer focus. The Honda feels "empty" and lacking when compared to the Mazda. The prices are all very close so it's a good comparison in my book. I'd like the sunroof to be an option by itself.
The clutch is awesome. Buy the 5-speed if at all possible. The Copper Red Mica is beautiful in the sun. The standard wheels are nice and the power outlet next to the aux. MP3 outlet is another great idea.
The car does need tinted windows stock from Mazda. The cigarette lighter and ashtray should be replaced by something more useful for us non-smokers like maybe a coin drawer. It's backwards in my view to make me buy a replacement for the ashtray instead of making the smoker buy a "smoker's package"