This car was a great value when I bought it new and throughout its lifetime. I just sold it. It's more stylish, powerful, and feature rich for the price compared with alternatives. I could even tow with it. Gratifying acceleration with the 2.4L, which is apparently one of GM's best engines. Repairs became significant, but otherwise normal and routine (i.e., A/C overhaul and water pump replacement near 90k). Otherwise, no major chronic or abnormal problems. Although, I had to replace the windshield twice under otherwise normal conditions. Very favorable price/performance ratio. I agree that criticism is harsh when you consider fair trade-offs at this price point. It served me well.
Towing capacity (1,000 lbs w/2.4L), fold-down back seat, solid acceleration (2.4L), styling, price, traction control, ABS, tight cruise control, fuel economy, robust heat/AC, intuitive/ergonomic controls, dual air bags, easy to obtain service and parts.
Windshield seemed to crack easily, slightly unassuring ride at very high speed with heavy traffic, uncomfortable seats, road and wind noise, noisy and gappy wipers, flimsy side mirror and trip odometer, but nothing unreasonable for this class of car.