2004 Saturn ION Red Line 4dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl S/C 5M)
Never would I have expected to buy a Saturn. But I liked the looks when the car came out. Still, it was sort of unexciting. When the Redline came out the excitement was added and I purchased one. It had been a few years since I drove stick, but this one is so easy and smooth that it came back right away. Excellent seats (Recaro), great wheels, nice styling. Unique enough to draw stares, fast enough to surprise most and economical to drive and own. A very pleasant surprise.
This engine/transmission combination is one of the best out there. The rear doors are nice to have as are the folding rear and front passenger seat. You can get a lot of stuff in this car for its size.
The center located instruments are too Saabesque for me. With three cars it never quite gets natural to look to the center for information.