Looked at the following Hatchbacks.
All Subaru models
After looking at everything I was willing to buy,
I purchased a 2012 I-touring with Skyactiv Engine and Auto Trans.
This power plant it awesome.
It is the smoothest I have ever driven.
Power really comes on at 2800 to 3000 rpm giving me ability to choose gas mileage or Zoom zoom.
The interior is 'Spartan' but still an upgrade from my 2002 Wrangler.
I really like the BT hands free phone function.
According to the computer I am getting 32.1 MPG since buying the car, (50/50 hwy and city).
I checked at the pump and my numbers came back 31.8, that to me is pretty good.
Smooth engine and auto transmission, good power deliver for 155 horses.
Other companies try to use dual clutch or cvt transmissions on their liitle cars.
Here is eaches down fall.
Dual Clutch - When I drove both the Focus and GTI I found the trans was great at getting you going but had a shudder in stop and go.
Was a pain to parrellel park.
The trans did not want to react the the shifting from D to R fast enough. I do still love the GTI but I was afraid of VW part pricing.
CVT- The nissan and subaru use these things.
They are junk, the NVH (Noise Vibration and Harshness) was massive.
Put the petal to the floor and it sounds like to engine is going to pop through the hood.
I would like to have the left arm rest a little higher and the center console arm jest a little longer.
Would I buy this car again?
Is it better than a hybrid?
Is it better than the GTI ? No
Do I think the cost the fix and maintain will be ok? OH YES.
The price of car parts is also dependant on the number of units sold.
Mazda sells a ton of Mazda 3s.
It is their best seller.
Go Drive one and you will understand why. Get the Skyactiv system.
Mazda was ranked #2 most reliable for 2012 by Card and Driver (Subaru was #1).
To get a this car at 21k than is Kia Sol ! pricing is awesome.
I felt bad in this economy not buying USA, but America has to have products we want to buy