I work as a salesperson in the car business and I drive a variety of cars and trucks on a daily basis. Some are nicer, faster, bigger, and tow better than others. For me, this vehicle works. I work downtown and I needed a small, reliable commuter that was reasonable on gas but still fun to drive. This car delivers. I bought it with just over 40k miles on it and so far have had no problems. The flat torque curve of this engine allows it to pull even in 5 gear which is unusual for a car this size. I went with an 8 for reliability due to my short ownership. The car handles like a go-cart and winds up nicely. I paid 6k used (it's a 2006)- (a deal a customer could have gotten) Value-wise-- 10!
Good fit and finish, solid stereo system, love the 5 speed and the torque. Love that with no keyless entry the car still has actuators in the doors. Has predictable handling limits and good visibility.
6 speed manual would be fantastic. ABS and side impact airbags in the seats standard would also be great. The engine is a bit noisy when it winds up and could use more sound- dampening material between the engine and the cabin.