Thanks Peter. You make a good point about the number of Mini dealers, there are quite a few in S. Ontario, but scattered around the province. I've also heard that Subies are a little hard on fuel compared to it's counterparts, but are generally quite reliable. I never really thought of the Honda Fit, I'll check them out. More than likely they use the same engines as the Civic(?).
With the Mazda 3, I've heard mixed things from people I know who've owned them. They're either in love with their '3' or they've had what seems like an inordinate amount of problems with them. One of my neighbours has had several clutch failures, but I'm leaning towards the belief that it's her driving style, or lack thereof.
Half of communication is listening. You can't listen with your mouth.