2008 Mazda MAZDASPEED MAZDA3 New Sport 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
This is the sort of car you can buy if you want something fun to drive yet also want the ability to haul things or people. Depending on who you are talking to, you could presumably describe two entirely different cars without lying. If I were talking to my mom, it's a cute people hauler with 60/40 split rear seats and plenty of cargo space. If I were describing it some guy while filling my car -- yeah -- it's a turbo. And no, I don't want to race your SRT-4. Either way, it's quirky enough to make daily driving interesting while lacking some of the gaudy plastic bits that adorn performance variants of other manufacturers.
The gauge cluster can be toggled to between red and blue. Decent acceleration in stock form. The glove compartment is ridiculously deep for some reason which is good for holding things (so is the rest of the car, it's like a station wagon). Stock wheels fit the look of the car well.
Mazda seems to be able to focus on what's important while having enough little problems to give the car personality. If you buy a car like you would buy a fridge, you will want to look at something more prudent. Perhaps a Kia?
There are little problems everywhere. There is front strut noise in cold (-15c or below) weather. The mazdaspeed embossed door sill plate is coming loose on the passenger side. Lumbar seat support is only somewhat functional. The retractable key only opens sometimes, perhaps as a rudimentary form of theft protection.
Mazda obviously thinks they are above doing the little things right. Despite improvements over the cheaper models, especially the front seats, the econobox origin of this car is firmly present in the mazdaspeed model.