With its Alfa-like hatchback shape (there's also a sedan), impressive cabin tech, and sharp handling, the redesigned 3 is the star entertainer among affordable cars. Those with the 155-horsepower, 2.0-liter 4 deliver a solid-citizen 40 mpg. To pin the fun meter, head for the 2.5-liter 4 with 184 horsepower. [$16,945 (Skyactiv-MT)/$17,995 (Skyactiv-D AT); mazdausa.com]
The 2014 Adventure Issue
From Iceland's Highway 1 to Utah's Canyonlands, an epic itinerary for modern explorers.
Plus: Building a Bigger Action Hero
ON NEWSSTANDS NOW
Duke Lacrosse and the Fog of Scandal
How Thailand's Most Notorious Prison Became a Fight Club
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