I had a 2002 before purchasing the 2006. And while I liked the old one, there were a few little things that really annoyed me with it. The new one is really a great car! It has better quality interior, better ride/handling, nicer instrument panel, nicer closing doors, better fit and finish, less road noise, faster, the list goes on! Also, the new xenon headlights are great. I noticed the handling difference in the car (better) immediately leaving the dealer. I have the 6 spd manual. I took it on a 600 mile trip and got 31.4 MPG. I don't think there's another car made where you'll get this type of performance/mileage combination. I'm extremely happy with this one:)
I really like the xenon headlights, they are really bright ( 80% brighter than the old ones) and they aren't in your way like the old flip up ones were. Also, I got the chromed wheels which are really sharp.
The shifting that occasionally forces you to go from 1st to 4th is somewhat annoying, but you can live with it.