I rented a Ford Aspire once and decided it was the car I wanted to buy. I've had this car 10 years. Replaced a clutch (60K miles), and have had the front end (outer tie rod, and L ball joint replaced just last year. I give it regular oil changes and keep the tires inflated. Except for this last year with the front end work, this has been a dream. 41+ mpg highway, 34 city. Quiet, and small enough to fit into even the smallest parking spaces. The hatch is roomy - it's like a clown car on the inside! I can get so much stuff in it it's crazy! I can drive in the snow when bigger 4WD vehicles can't. It's 13 (near 14) years old, and I don't intend to get rid of it any time soon. Yay for me.
Drives in any weather, and has excellent traction in the snow.