2001 Oldsmobile Alero GLS 4dr Sedan (3.4L 6cyl 4A)
I was originally shopping for a more expensive car, however I purchased a new motorcycle the same summer and decided to be a bit frugal. Even after looking at more expensive cars, the Alero stacked up well. There were a few annoying items that were fixed under warranty (heater/ac fan control, driver window, some interior trim) but mechanically the car has been very reliable. It goes through brakes quickly, but other than that I have had almost 85,000 trouble free miles. The car exhibited very little body noise over rough pavement until the last ~10,000 miles. Nonetheless, it is better than many other comparably priced cars (Camry, Accord) in this respect.
The car's handling is sporty enough to entertain, yet still delivers a smooth ride. It takes high speed freeway miles in stride and comfort, yet is easy to maneuver around town. It was nice to be able to get the V-6 Alero for about the price of a sluggish 4-cylinder Accord or Camry.
The problems I had with electrical accessories and trim were covered under warranty and have not recurred, yet these are the sort of problems that can drive less patient consumers away. GM needs to improve interior fit and finish and source better quality electronic accessories and controls.