-02 Protege 5
Many things remain the same through the years. Sporty handling, quirky but some how attractive interior, road noise, fun-to-drive, best hatch for the money, etc.
What was new and enticing was the Skyactiv drivetrain and a Mazda3 getting over 30mpg.. let alone nearly 40mpg. Haven't quite gotten there yet on average, but it seems possible. If you keep the RPM around 1800-1900 which is close to 60mph.. you'll break 40mpg. After that it seems to dissipate pretty quickly. You'd be lucky getting over 30mpg at 70mph.
At the end of the day, you can pick one of these up for under $17K brand new at some dealers.
Best car made under $17K.
Price, mpg, bluetooth phone/audio, interior lighting, capacity for dog/sports gear, bikes, music equip., blue treatment around headlamps, leather wrapped wheel
Improved gearing to run at 2,000 RPM or less at 70mph, mirror turn signals, sunglass storage, additonal Skyactiv brand treatment within interior... (blue stitching, light up shifter knob) and keep the blue LED lighting kit