2011 Mazda MAZDASPEED3 Sport 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
It's been a year since I got my MS3 with Tech Package. I come from 96 5series/ 01 Infiniti so I expect a lot of features, quality interior and ample power, plus I wanted utility. MS3 delivers all this, and for only $25k. Checked out WRX (poor interior) and GTI (not many features and low power). MS3 won hands down. Love every minute of driving it, even a year and 6k miles later. The ride is pretty firm - you feel a lot of the road through the sit, and bumps can shake your soul out , but it corners like on rails and steers like a go cart. The torque steer is very manageable, and is a minor bother in 1st gear only. The audio system is great, climate control works like a charm. Great job, Mazda!
Turbo power, adaptive HIDs with auto-on feature, satelite radio, navigation, Bose sound system, 6CD mp3 changer, leather/alcantara seats, cornering, utility, keyless access (very addictive feature, you don't realize it until you come to another car and try to open the door/start the car without getting a key out of the pocket), day/night dashboard lighting, intuitive and large front AC/audio controls. And did I mention turbo power?
Only have a few minor gripes.
1. The front tires are more than half-worn after 6k miles, although I do spirited starts often. Plan to replace with non-OEMs.
2. The keyless system has an inconvenience - when you turn off the engine, the stereo turns off as well, and you have to press start button again if you want to listen to music without engine running. Hope they fix it in the next gen.
3. The engine is starting to show its age - the torque doesn't come in full until 3k rpm and falls off after 5k, so you have to rev the engine carefully to get the stated acceleration. If rpms fall below 3k you are in the turbo-pit. Hope they move the peak torque lower next - 2k rpm or so.