1999 4i 5MT Accord LX manufactured in Japan (Saitama, IIRC). The only thing that's broken in 9 years is the windshield. It's for all intents as- new, and gets 32ish mpg in mixed driving, which makes it tough to trade in for something "better". As a used vehicle, a well-maintained Accord is about as good as it gets.
Reliability, still fresh styling, adequate performance, excellent gas mileage.
Upgrading wheels/tires to non-standard size and offset will adversely effect steering. Brakes are disc/drum w/o anti-lock.
I have owned a model year Nissan Altima, a Toyota Camry V6 and the Honda Accord. While I thought the Camry would be my favorite (the Altima was a disaster and traded within one year) after 4 years and 107,000 miles it was in need of serious mechanical attention and was traded. The Accord, however has 137,000 miles and has been the most reliable and required the least maintenance. In fact, it's only been in the shop twice over these past 8 years, once for ignition and once for clutch (just recently).
I have a spoiler, and the body style is still attractive and "current" after eight years.
I bought this car new in January of 1999. In that time I've only done scheduled maintenance except for replacing the battery. 100% reliable transportation, everything works just like it did the day I drove it off the lot. It's not the most powerful or sporty car on the road and the newer models get better fuel economy but Honda has proven to me that they build reliable vehicles.
Reliability. It does what it's supposed to do when you need it.
Most of my suggestions have already been addressed since this car is 8 years old. Handling is mushy, but otherwise there isn't much to complain about.
i bought my accord used, the ulev edition, which is built in japan. the transmission is only now, at 199,000 miles, is starting to slip a little, mostly due to old tranny fluid. american built hondas are the ones that are giving the company a bad rap. you can't build a japanese product outside of japan, it just won't work. won't buy another honda because they majority are built in the u.s. now, but will never rule out buying a used one after researching where the car was built.
aftermarket accessories galore! can practically swap the entire car around. great standard engine and features.