I don't know what all the bad press is on this car. I bought mine new in June of 2004 and have been totally pleased with it. It handles well, is quite peppy when I'm by myself, and has incredible room both inside (amazing head room) and in the trunk. I get 27-28 mpg in town and have gone over 40
on the highway 40 when I'm solo. With the 5 speed tranny it is a blast to drive in the mountains of Oregon and Idaho. I put a hitch on mine and can comfortably pull a small boat and still get in the low 30's for gas mileage. The only thing I've done is replace the timing belt as routine maintenance and the water pump as my mechanic noticed it was starting to leak just a bit. I love this little car!
It's a great little car for the money. The 5 speed makes the 1.6 motor perky. Nice stereo with the MP3 player. I like the look of the sedan; the hatchback is ugly. Roomy trunk.
No arm rest for the driver (that was fixed in later years). And only one cup holder in back. But it is a small car. Intermittent wipers only have one setting.The worst thing is that there is very poor lighting in the back seat.