2009 Subaru Impreza 2.5i 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)
Great car for the money. Costs more than other small cars but when you include all the included options it is a bargain. AWD is a must, not only for winter, but makes a big difference in wet conditions. Reliability rock solid and outstanding resale value (previous Subaru owner). Apart from some complains by others, I like the suspension, just enough sport for this 46 year old guy and it soaks up bad pavement very well. Test drove a Civic and Mazda 3 and Illinois roads really did not like those 2 cars. I drive 90% suburban/rural driving (15 mile commute), but even with that short a commute I average about 25-26 from my 5 speed, which is the only way to go.
AWD, standard features, 2nd gear ratio is perfect, Torque, Handling, Safety (stability control, brake assist), Ergonomics