Subaru: new Impreza or a slightly used Forrester?
VW: Rabbit or Jetta?
Mazda: M3 or slightly used M6?
Volvo: used V50? V70?
'02 Saab 9-2, Scion xB, '02-04 Audi A4, '98-00 Mercedes E-Class wagon, an Impala, and a smattering of Hondas and Camrys
That's what passes for consensus among the 100+ comments on Jalopnik's Question Of The [Other] Day: what's the best, small, inexpensive, efficient new family ride that isn't a minivan?
Obviously there's no single answer, but it's an interesting and informative discussion with a lot of firsthand experiences to learn from. If you see any winners or duds worth a mention, go ahead and mention them.