I had driven 10 company cars over the years, and when it finally came time to purchase one myself, I chose the MP5. I had one in 2002 when it was new, and loved it. Have driven Volvo XC70, Cadillac SRX, Ford Freestyle, Focus, Mazda6, Matrix, Fusion and this car beats them all. Outstanding handling, 4 wheel disc brakes, it's a blast to drive. This car always puts a smile on my face. My wife loves it because I'm like a teenager when there's an errand to be run - I love driving this car! It's stylish, and since it was only sold in the US for 2 years, it stands out without being seen everywhere.
Manual trans shifts great. Steering and suspension give a fantastic feel of the road. Handles like a dream. Controls are easy to use and within reach.
More hp would have been great, like in the Mazda3.