For the sake of full disclosure, I will tell you that I own a 2006 Mazda3 s 5-door (manual) that I purchased new in 12/2005. I am very fond of Mazda vehicles (also had a 2012 CX-9 GT that I sold to my parents when I leased a new Volvo S60 earlier this year). But the Mazda3 is a great car. Fuel economy is the only (minor) complaint i have after almost 10 years of owning the car. I average 23-25mpg overall with the 2.3L and 5-speed manual.
Mazda only offered the 5-door with the larger 2.3L engine thru 2009 and 2.5L in 2010-2011. They finally introducated a 2.0L version of the 5-door in 2012, but those are going to be out of your price range.
But I have three alternatives that fit your criteria and they are all cars I would purchase for myself.
1- 2010-2012 Suzuki SX4 Sportback 6MT- the Sportback has an aero body kit, 17" alloys, sport suspension, fog lamps, stability control and a 6-speed manual standard. The look good and are very nice to drive with a peppy 150hp 2.0L and 6-speed manual. They're also very well built and reliable. I found two identical silver 2011 models on Cars.com wiith clean Carfax reports which include maintenance records. One has 77k miles (in CT) and is priced at $8995. The other has 52k miles and is $9500 in IL.
2- 2009-2011 Nissan Versa S 5-door- I have always found the 1st-gen Versa 5-door to be an attractive, well-packaged and nice driving small car. It feels like a much larger car from the inside and has some nice features not expected in this class. A quick search on Cars.com turned up more than a dozen 2009-2010 models with 40-70k miles and CPO warranty for well under $9k!
3- 2009-2010 Toyota Matrix- The base and S models feel underpowered with a 132hp 1.8L, even with the 5-speed manual. The XRS with a 158hp 2.4L is a much different story and has plenty of power. But finding an XRS manual isn't an easy task, especially for $9k or less.
BTW, I am 6'2" (34" inch inseam, so I am rather 'long-legged') and I weigh about 255lbs....I'm a pretty big guy. I have driven all three of the cars above and haven't had any height/size-related problems. I seem to remember that the SX4 has a manual seat high adjustment, like my Mazda3, which I keep set as low as it wil go. I have plenty of head room, especially in the SX4.