I purchased this car because I needed a 3rd vehicle which I could "run the wheels off of". I had rented automatic versions while on business trips and found the vehicle to be quite acceptable. I immediately drove the car to Florida (approx 1,000 miles) straight thru and felt no discomfort at all. The car is well "laid out" and its performance (2.2 liter with manual 5 speed) is quite acceptable. My other vehicles are a 2004 Mach I mustang and a 2004 Expedition, so I really appreciated the 32+ MPG that I have been getting in this vehicle.
Well positioned and "crisp" 5 speed manual transmission, standard radio w/cd and standard a/c that came with this very "low end" model (list price was only $12,400). Fit and finish is quite good.
Better interior materials for seats and door panels. The standard cloth is ok, but I would gladly have paid a few hundred extra for something in a nice vinyl.