Bought this car way back in 2000 and it has never ever left me stranded. Looks nice, has good interior room for the driver and front seat passenger. No big repairs, just the usual cost of ownership stuff. The 5 speed is actually quite sprightly, and takes off very fast from a stop. Handling is very nice, I've driven it in some of the most cornersome roads in the Oregon mountains and coast and its been great. Even had this baby on dirt roads/forste roads. Tough as nails. Its got 208,000 miles now and still starts every day. Pity Ford no longer makes these or I would buy another.
5 speed manual works nicely with the 2.0 engine. Good trunk space for such a small car. Doesn't feel small inside. Reliable and great gas mileage.
It's pretty hard to replace simple stuff like the front indicator bulbs and headlights do fog up. Could use another 10-20 hp. That would make it a perfect small car.