I recently was in the same market and we decided on the 2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Limited. We decided on it for the additional road manners that it offers over the Crosstrek. We looked at the Mazda, which was excellent, but in the end, the Subaru reliability, durability, and safety took the cake in the end.
I liked the idea of the Mini Cooper and the Fiat 500, but both have reliability concerns that drove me away quickly.
The Crosstrek is nice, but doesn't handle quite as well because of the additional ride height, but the Impreza is very sure-footed. In fact, surprisingly so to me. The Impreza is my wife's, while I have a 350Z and a Toyota MR2. While the Impreza won't out handle either of my cars, it feels very planted and it communicates well especially given that steering systems are all going electric assist now. The AWD helps plant it, but it also just doesn't roll as much as I expected it to. It feels nice.
The Mazda is similar, albeit with just a bit more understeer. It feels good, but when you get to the edge, even in the AWD variant, there's a feeling of the front tires starting to let go, and it just seemed like you approached the edge a little sooner in the Mazda for me. Perhaps a tire upgrade would remedy that, but as stock, the Impreza felt like the better handling of the two.
As far as fuel economy, and all that. We've had ours since March and we average about 28 mpg in Dallas-Fort Worth. On a couple trips out of town, we've been able to achieve 34 mpg with the AC keeping us comfortable in near 100 degree heat and the car loaded up with people and stuff. Also, the Subaru is a PZEV (Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle), which the Mazda is unable to claim.
It is a shame about VW and their products which have been so good, even to our family in the past.