I bought this car because of my previous experience with the protege. I owned one 1997 DX model from 1997. It proved to be a very reliable car and fun to drive. It lacked a bit of power but the mileage was about 36 miles to the gallon on average, not just highway. The 2003 was loaded compared to the stripped 2007 model. The larger more powerfull engine would make the car even better. Turns out that going to the automatic transmission cost me some of that power. The driving on the new model was better because of the cornering. The larger low profile wheels made the drive much better. The mileage stunk. It dropped to 27 miles to the gallon. I have liked the vehicle.