I got the car new as a junior in high school in 2005. There were only two SXT's left on the lot, including an orange one with a spoiler. Picked it up for around 13K (on sale) at the time and instantly fell in love. The car has been extremely reliable and I've always felt safe in it. For a "compact car" I actually think it's quiet roomy. I've managed to keep the interior/exterior pretty immaculate for its age.
The car isn't without problems. I've had to replace the Camshaft senor twice now (25$ part) and I find the car takes a toll on tires and breaks- so be prepared to replace these a tad earlier than suggested. I also had to replace all 4 motor mounts at 75K. (@81K ATM)
It's definetly gas friendly.
It's actually a very stylish car.
Inexpensive parts to fix when things DO go wrong. (The 4 motor mounts cost me about $650 to have replaced)
Air conditioning is amazing! Especially being that I live in FL. The heat actually works fast too, for those rare days.
And most importantly, it's been a very reliable car for me. I really hope it lasts me another 100K miles.
I don't know what the deal is with this car and camshaft sensors, everyone who owns this car has this problem, but at leasts it's a cheap fix.
It's tough on tires and breaks, mainly tires.
Notoriously weak motor mounts apparently. (The SRT model doesnt have this issue.)