I researched all the brands and always came back to the Mazda3. I chose the speed3 after driving both and simply enjoyed the fun factor and economy of a sporty car that has all the details I hold dear. The interior is excellent, design outstanding. The firm ride makes for confident handling, the engine a superb powerhouse or a fuel sipper depending on how you drive it. I can trundle along at normal speed and save the gas, but if I need some passing power, it amazes with its pickup that never ends. The torque will pull strongly in any gear and turbo lag is minimal and predicable. I cannot find any other vehicle for the money that gives so much. Get one while you can. $$ will only go up.
Climate control is nice, the turbo engine is a blast. Steering wheel cruise and radio controls are perfect.
The radio is good but could be improved. Complex for the non-nerd. Needs more 12v outlets.