4. 2012 Mazda 3
MSRP: $15,200

The Mazda3 has all the fun of a feature-filled subcompact with a bit more kick. A 2.5-liter engine gives this little hatch 167 horsepower, which basically dusts most vehicles in its class. As for options, it joins the Fit and Versa in offering an engine-immobilizing anti-theft device, along with eight cupholders, six-speaker CD/MP3 player and front and side airbags. The options range from upgrades as simple as foglights, a rear spoiler and dual exhausts to automatic xenon headlights, heated mirrors, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, leather upholstery and a power driver's seat with driver memory functions. Tacked-on tech toys include sunroofs and Bose 10-speaker sound systems with a six-CD changer, keyless ignition and entry, satellite radio, iPod interface and a navigation system with steering wheel controls.

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