After years of expensive repairs on Audi's and BMW's I went Japanese, with no regrets. The build quality and materials are almost equal and the price is considerably less. I expect maintenance and repairs to be much less. This car is the perfect balance between economy and performance. I almost bought the base model, but for a little extra you double the performance (literally). I'm not a racer, but it's nice to know your car will stop quicker than almost anything out there (larger brakes), handles wonderfully for accident avoidance or fun (tighter suspension, extra supports), and when you need to pass on the highway is faster than a Porsche (or anything under $75k).
I've loved the design of the hatch for years, and the interior is excellent. Best seats I've ever ridden in (including BMW and Audi). Simple dash/instrument design. I love the Bose audio, and don't find bass lacking. Excellent visibility, outstanding build quality. Great 6-speed which I found very smooth.
I'd love to see integral vinyl bumper protection, like on recent BMW's. A mud-flap option might help keep the car clean. Get rid of the ashtray in favor of another storage compartment.