Danny - Was it a Fusion you were trading in? Just curious. My parents had one, now it is my sister's. My dad would get in the upper 20's with it. My sister will probably get about 3 mpg with it.
Skinny tires - Yes. They are skinny. I've fallen in love with the skinny tires ... because they're skinny to serve a purpose (or multiple purposes). Skinny tires bleed off less energy, they are lighter, and they're generally less expensive. I like things done purposefully, which makes me respect the car, even with the skinny little tires. I actually like the way they look now. They look effective / efficient.
I wouldn't beat yourself up too bad on the $5,300 - $3,000 difference. People blow A LOT MORE MONEY THAN THAT, on cars every hour of every day.
I think you made a wise decision going with the 5 speed. I'm enjoying learning the car. What I've learned is that no other car has rewarded me for low rpms (I shift at 3,000 rpm if in no hurry) as effectively as this car does. Even on around town errands I can get the display to read 50 mpg. Of course it has error. A 50 mpg reading is approximately 46 mpg. It's fun to try to hit 50+ mpg on the display. And you're right. Everything above 40 mpg is gravy.
View my fuel log 2020 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 42.4 mpg (US) ... 18.0 km/L ... 5.6 L/100 km ... 50.9 mpg (Imp)