2007 Toyota Matrix XR 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
So many practical reasons to own this car: excellent gas mileage, lots of cargo room, Toyota reliability, flat-folding seats. But what sold me on it was that it's just a fun car to drive. The handling is enjoyable, the engine is more willing than its 126 hp would imply, the interior is cockpit-ish, the 6-cd sound system is decent, the seats are comfy with cool fabric, and the ride is nicer than the competition's. It's a nice mix of good stuff for the money. I was considering a Civic, but the Matrix had more cargo space, a nicer ride, a nicer interior, and was way more fun to drive. The auto I test drove was good, but I recommend a manual trans with any small engine.
Gas mileage, interior, cargo space, handling, flat-folding front passenger seat with a tray on the back, lifting rear glass, seats, AC outlet, kinda sexy looking for a wagon.
A smoother manual transmission - it's okay, but not up to par with the rest of the car.