2010 Nissan Sentra 2.0 S 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl CVT)
Put my first 800 miles driving from south Florida to East Tennessee. Entering North Carolina's Appalachian mountain region on interstate 26, this little Sentra with 16 inch tires and CVT delivered exceedingly smooth and capable performance for a supposed compact. I wanted to buy American and wish Chevy would build such a great compact now that America needs to conserve gas more than ever - but they seem too interested in pushing their "onstar" instead of the virtues of the car itself. Looked at Kia Forte, Ford focus and Mazda3. The Mazda3 would have been my second choice. Honda Civic was not even considered because it, along with VW, in my opinion, were way overpriced in this segment.
Smooth highway operation. Most bang for buck in a new compact car. Lots of leg and headroom for tall folks. Can even where a cowboy hat without touching headliner. Timing chain, instead of belt, quiet ride. No frills design includes micro-filter A/C and user friendly cruise control.
Really, I cannot even pretend to find anything wanting different for the price range.