I bought my car brand new 12 years ago and am still driving it. I wish Ford still made these, because I would definitely buy another one. This car has never let me down.
I've had three collisions in this car (none my fault) all on the front ends and stayed safe through all three. This car is very peppy- you can pull out very quickly and you can zoom uphill with no problem.
Other than some maintenance (new alternator at 90,000 miles, new break pads, a few batteries, a repair on the air conditioner) I've had no major problems. The only complaints are that it's hard to get into the back seat, but once you're there it's pretty roomy.
I love how the back seats fold down and I can even fit my double bass back there! Great for a college student since it pretty much held my entire dorm room when I moved out every summer.
For such a small car, it holds a lot of stuff.
I also love my moon roof.
The cd player and sound system are great, however the tape player broke within the first year I had it.
However, I've only recently begun to miss the tape player when I wish I could hook up my ipod through the tape deck.
The paint on my car has held up well, as well as the interior upholstery. This car is also pretty fuel efficient.
Bought this used, and now has over 200,000 miles on it, and still going strong, absolutly great gas mileage, but the ride is bumpy and noisy, but it's basic and cheap transportation, moon roof is neat, body paint still shines, replaced thrmostat, timing belt, rods, battery, tires. will drive it til it dies.
This is a good, cheap piece of transportation. There's not much to this car, just the bare necessities. Crank windows, no CD player, no A/C. It's got 108,000 miles on it, and has done well for a Ford. Only replaced the alternator and an idler pulley so far (relatively cheap fixes, $400, $100), have done the brakes; rotors and pads front for $50. It's got the 2.0 liter engine and a 5 speed manual so it gets good mileage (25 or so with me driving it hard), has good handling, and is fun to drive. It's due for a clutch, and there are squeaks, rattles, and oil leaks. Interior trim pieces are also falling off.
Good performance, handling. Good mileage (25-28). Cheap to own. Looks cool!
Where's the CD player and A/C? Uncomfortable seats, noisy inside, choppy ride and noisy, buzzy engine. Cheap interior.
Purchased with 89K and so far it has been a steal. Fun to drive, very peppy and handles nicely. Have the primo sound 6 disc changer and it sounds great. Gas mileage mostly highway is 29mpg. (moderate driving speeds/acceleration)
Sun roof and 6 disc cd. Geared for someone who likes to drive.
Engine is noisy. Long trips not the best as the seat comfort up front is not the best. Red paint faded slightly.
I purchased the car with 93,000 mi on it and paid $4,300 out the door with every option available (over half the price of the Celica's I was looking at). The car has an awesome stereo with premium sound. I drove it until 119,000. The only thing I had to replace was the thermostat. When I bought it, it did have a slight transmission leak that I always meant to have fixed. Instead I just put more fluid in every once in a while. When I sold the car, it did seem like it had the beginnings of real transmission trouble, but I'm not positive. Trans problems are the one thing that can plague this vehicle. I can't ignore the fact, though, that my brother-in- law owned two with over 250,000 miles.
The car has a lot of get up and go. I never drag raced in it, but if I needed to beat someone off the light, I could do it easily. I averaged 26 MPG in city/hwy driving. And I wasn't light footed either. The best I ever got was 33 MPG. Saved me $1,600 in gas over my last wreck of a car ('89 Beretta)
I went on an 1,100 mile road trip through Canada. By the third day my sides were aching. The seats are extremely uncomfortable for long trips. The engine is a little loud, which is great for passing people, but it's a tad embarrassing when the car's just sitting there warming.