Almost bought a Honda Civic, but being a tall guy I didn't exactly fit. I like the Protege 5 much better, driving style and handling are much more user friendly than the Civic. The shifting is simple, and the drive is smooth. Engine seems to rev at high rpm's over 70 mph in 5th gear, but it doesn't even come close to the red line. Just drove in rain today, and it was a carefree drive.
The red lighted console and other dash components are sporty. The child safety locks in back are also very nice. Overall I like the feel and look of the car.