Well, I drove the now infamous Focus ST as well as the VW GTI and GLI and came back to the Speed3.
The Focus was very slow to build boost and make power, felt very darty and followed every rut in the road.
The newer GTI didn't have the magic that the MKV GTI possessed.
It didn't have the instant torque feeling, maybe because I didn't floor it, very different throttle calibration possibly.
The Jetta GLI was just too vanilla, it doesn't stand out in any real way other than the interior was pretty neat.
The Speed3 entertains in normal driving like no other.
Power comes on immediately, while the suspension is much more aggressive, it's well dampened.
Favorite features are the power, steering feel, braking, and handling.
The price after dealing and getting them to give up the incentive blew everything away.
Truly fun to drive.
Too new to rate reliability, but I gave it excellent based on previous Mazda ownership.
The seat bottoms are too flat and don't adjust.
The dash/radio design is bad.
It gets the worst mileage in the segment, low 20's. Part of owning 280lbft of fun..... Bose stereo not at all impressive, but neither were the base stereos in any other car.