"Great performing, great looking sedan... no regrets!"5.0 starson by cab6v
Great looking wide-body sedan body style, but still compact
Manual gearbox only!!!
2 years free maintenance!!
Best resale value in class
Good rear headroom
Nice leather interior (with cool contrast stitching)
4wd sticks to the road
Cons: It's tough to be inconspicuous
Fuel economy could be better (avg 23 to 24 mpg after broken in)
iphone integration renders phone screen useless (have to control with small car screen unless you get the GPS unit)
Bluetooth sometimes is hard for other end
Summary: Subaru have finally returned the WRX to form. It looks great, handles incredibly well, and is a performance bargain (you will look for excuses to take the long way so that you can hit fun turns). For just above $30k, you get a compact, good looking sedan that is faster than the competition and has a nice interior that can comfortably seat 4 adults (rear headroom is superior to Lexus and BMW).
The only other option I was really considering was a 3 series, because it's one of the few nicer sedans with a manual option. However, the 335 has significant reliability issues with the turbo, is over $10k more and frankly has a d-bag vibe. 328 is slow. The beemer really can't compete with the WRX in my opinion if you want quality value performance that is also somewhat different from all the other bro dude tools. The std WRX was better for me than the STi b/c the STI has the huge wing (boy racer looks) and much higher insurance.
The best advice I can give is to get this car and *custom order it*. You will get exactly what you want (short throw is a must! and I recommend body side molding) and you may even save cash (you will pay full sticker off the lot otherwise - often marked up even). This is a great car that is super fun, and when you throw in the awesome performance, free service and good Subaru customer service and top resale value, you can't go wrong!!!