Civic? Mazda3? Rabbit? I too looked at each, but in the end the Rabbit was simply better. Feel the solid laser-welded construction of the Rabbit over a rough road. No goofy-fad interior either, clean, functional design with everything in clear view and reach. The most underrated: the engine. Some say 2.5L should have more horsepower, but then they haven't felt the Rabbit's torque. It pulls strong without winding revs. The 2.5L engine allows torque on tap and makes the driving experience something the others can't touch. Who wants to rev to 7,000 every time you want to pass? Not the people driving Rabbits! Oh, about the weight, yes its a little high but check out the crash test ratings. More metal is safer!
The safety, optional rear thorax bags, fold down passenger seat, laser welded unibody, shifter feel, 5-cyl. sound, and the interior at night, Wow! I also love the low road noise, traction control, rear passenger air vents, adjustable armrest, full size spare, and the slot for the owner's manual in the glove box.
The engine is covered by a big plastic panel. Black carpet seems to be the only option.