I bought this car brand new back in '96. I have to say that as many others have mentioned, I had to change the head gasket, and I had the normal problems with other parts of the car. The latest thing I had to face was a malfunction of the speed sensor, however, it was replaced (not a very expensive replacement part) and everything was back to normal. The painting peeled off the roof, and the rest of the car was darkening (it is white, so you can tell it darkens), but I took it to a furnace full body painting in 2003 and it is brand new now! This car has never left me stranded, and even though the gas mileage is not very good in the city, it is certainly fun to drive!
Engine power is good, gives you speed when you need it. Replacement parts are not really expensive. Manual transmission. Good internal space for up to 5 people. Good trunk space.
Better paint to avoid peel-offs. Better component parts, for those parts that fail often (O2 sensor, speed sensor, head gasket)