The 8 best commuting cars for 2014

2013 Mazda3 iTouring 5-Door

Price: $23,540
Fuel Economy: 30 mpg city/40 highway/33 combined

Sleek styling. Fuel-stingy engine. Up-scale cabin. The redesigned Mazda3 has it all. We particularly like the hatchback's exterior lines. (Disagree? Opting for the sedan will save you $500.) We priced it with the six-speed, driver-shiftable automatic transmission as well as the $1,600 Technology Package, which includes goodies like dual-zone climate control and Mazda Connect with 7-inch touch screen, electronics interface, navigation system and nine-speaker surround-sound audio system. Wheel-mounted audio controls and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert are also standard. The 155-horsepower 2-liter four-cylinder engine proves “Zoom Zoom” is alive and well. Ask any Mazda3 owner and they'll tell you this car is athletic, nimble and just plain fun to drive. The cabin is surprisingly roomy, comfortable and quiet. High-quality parts and materials are what you'd expect to find on a much more expensive car. Mazda even arranged the instrument panel to minimize distractions and the time a driver's eyes stray from the road.