No on the Honda Fit, huh? A Matrix/Vibe will be similar; slightly more powerful but heavier. You might like the feel of a Scion XD - about the same size as a Fit, but has a bigger engine (the Matrix/Vibe/Corolla engine). Based on past results, a Mazda will probably start to show some body rust at 6-10 years old in your climate. Maybe they've changed their metals coating processes since then, but I've never seen any kind of technical analysis that would show that. They are nice cars, though. On the Subaru front, you will definately lose some MPG with them, but they are nice cars; the Impreza being smallest/cheapest and the one to get unless you need more space. If you don't like any of the smaller/better mpg cars, the Impreza might be your best bet. You can get the bigger engine in a Matrix, but once you do that, economy begins to favor the Impreza.