2004 Mazda MAZDA6 i 4dr Sports Sedan (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
I bought this new, auto w/ manual shift, minimal other frills. Overall, it rides a bit like an Euro car, feels bit stiff but soaks up bumps well. I don't like how most Japanese cars wallow but then kick you when it gets bumpy. Engine w/ auto is slow-ish, but fast enough to get you into illegal speeds anyway. Handling is far above average; I find it more engaging even than my '09 G37. It did have a software glitch, stalled a couple of times the second year; fixed under warranty. No other problems in almost 95k miles driving in the punishing Boston climate/traffic/pothole combo. No regrets. If the new Mazda6 wasn't so corpulent, I'd get another one.
Well-controlled ride, handling, manual shift for auto helps with merging onto busy highways, excellent (and std!) leather steering wheel with radio controls, good trunk layout/space w/o hinges to kill suitcases/boxes, excellent range on a tank of gas.
Cheapo stereo, wish they still make them like this.