I am a courier and have used this vehicle for 7 years. Upkeep has been low for a very heavy demand car. Gas mileage is still very close to 40mpg on mainly a city driving route. AC is excellent but has required upkeep. Visibility is excellent with higher clearance. Speed to 70 mph is comfortable but gets rough past that. The Aspire is cheap to purchase and operate. You must maintain this vehicle with proper care - if you do it will take good care of you. Do not allow transmission fluid or engine oil to get low. Front axles are cheap and should be maintained. At 198,000 I have not had to do any major engine work. This little car still hums and with the 5 speed my acceleration is fine.
Excellent driver visibility. 40 mpg - yes really. Comfortable sturdy and supportive seats - I am over 250 lbs. Tough build. Powerful AC. Great in snow but you must keep the 165x70x13 tire on it as it was meant to be. Strong Mazda engine. Very affordable.
None really. If you changed the low safety rating you would add weight and lose the phenomenal gas mileage. The Aspire is exactly what it was designed to be - a very affordable, sturdy, practical little car that gets 40 mpg in town and even higher on the highway. No need to change that!