2001 Mitsubishi Mirage DE 2dr Coupe (1.5L 4cyl 4A)
Astonishingly reliable- I purchased in 2011 used, and within three days a wind storm dropped a 5000 pound tree on the hood. After chopping the tree up, the car took off as if nothing happened. With a mileage intensive job, I've been heaping miles on it without issue. Just swapped out the timing belt after 100K miles to be safe, but it gave no indication that it needed it. It is small, and I'd recommend the 4 door. The mileage is beyond incredible, I get somewhere between 30-35MPG on average, and that's with a 10 year old automatic setup. The pickup is not fast, but it can maintain 90MPH on the highway without issue. I smiled a bit when I overtook a new Challenger on the interstate.
Fuel economy, reliable components, hood that can apparently repair itself.
Nothing that Mitsubishi didn't include in the successor vehicle, the Lancer :)
† Edmunds.com received the highest numerical score in the proprietary J.D. Power 2014 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study℠. Results based on responses from 3,381 responses, measuring 14 companies and measures third-party automotive website usefulness among new and used vehicle shoppers. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of owners surveyed from January 2014. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.