I recently got the i touring hatchback version of the mazda3. The steering is very precise, unlike a lot of other cars. Skyactiv is a must. The improvement in performance and fuel economy is worth the extra cash. Stay away from the base trim for the 4 door. The car is pretty fun to drive even at low speeds.
Great fuel economy.
6 speaker system is loud, actually too loud. With my phone's headphone amp at +5db, bass starts to shake the door panels with the volume set at 17, when the max volume is something like 63. Would be very easy to blow out these speakers.
The automatic's manual mode is pretty responsive.
I like the outside styling
Interior is functional, but kinda ugly.
Should have automatic headlights as standard. I had a car that cost roughly the same amount 9 years ago, and it had automatic lights.
Not a lot of backseat legroom.