2004 Mazda MAZDA6 s 4dr Sport Wagon (3.0L 6cyl 5M)
Got this car loaded - everything except the leather. After a year and 26,000 miles, I still enjoy it, but it's not without faults. It's a good blend of utility, looks, comfort and sportiness. It does lots of things well, but nothing really great. It's quick enough, but doesn't inspire me to race (could use 30 more hp). It's fuel efficient enough, but no Civic. The handling is good, but only in dry weather (bad tire choice - I can't wait to replace them). It looks great (especially in black) and I still find myself staring at it. Definitely stands out in the crowd. The interior is well laid out. Seats are firm and comfortable, but the fabric pills up like a cheap sweater.
Handling (except in snow). Exterior styling (best looking wagon under $30,000). I recommend the rear spoiler option. Tilt-telescopic steering wheel, control lay-out. Rear cargo area. Good storage areas. I love the storage compartment on the upper center console.
Auto transmission is vague at low speeds (this car is far better on the highway than in the city). Needs higher quality materials on interior (seats). Better tires would improve things a lot. On all but the smoothest of pavements, these Michelins hum loudly. They're average in rain and terrible in snow.