Originally Posted by beatsMcGee
I love driving a 5 speed so it would be killer if I could get something that comes with a manual transmission. Also im looking for a used vehicle, nothing new and expensive.
Oh, and as always, good fuel economy is a HUGE plus.
Just got a 2010 Mazda 3 hatch and it covers all the bases for what you're looking for. Sporty, decent fuel economy, 6 speed manual, and enough room to fit a 5 piece with a 22" BD with the seats folded down and have room for a passenger. I'd put it up against a VW GTI which costs about 5 grand more. I also had the last model which was built from 2004-2009 and that did pretty much everything the new one does with a little less grunt and one less gear to row. If you're looking used I would recommend that.
And I'm sure heappreciates all the suggestions but keep in mind he's in the US so many of the Euro models are not sold here, like the KA or the Punto. For utility in hauling drums I couldn't go lower than a compact. Sub compacts might work if you have a small kit.