I have owned this car for six years now. It has never once left me stranded. If you treat this car well it will run. Repairs I have done were normal considering the age. Timing belt, front wheel bearings, harmonic balancer, starter, fan clutch, brake drums and other scheduled maintenance. This car has lasted multiple cross country road trips and does exceptional on the highway. Even now, with it being 12 years old I get 23mpg city and 30mpg hwy. The new model sportage is put to shame by this. People mention to me my car doesn't accelerate fast. I don't mind this because I'm not a fast driver. I like that it's high enough that you can step into it not stand up or stoop down.
I like the trunk space, the height, and the dependability.
Since it's no longer in production it doesn't matter what improvements I say. However, if it had a cd player built in and cruise control that would make it perfect.