I recently purchased a 5spd Reno (46K) for a commuter. I drive 90 miles round trip to work, about 90% interstate. The car is better than expected. The editor reviews seem to be a bit harsh. The ride is good, pretty quiet, handling is OK, peppy engine with the 5 spd, no problems merging etc.The standard features are way above the economy class norm. The mpg has been close to advertised, I have ranged between 26-28.5 mpg with an average 25% city 75% hwy driving. Hwy speeds between 70-77 mph. If you are looking for max mpg, look elsewhere, the Reno offers a pretty good package at the current used prices, shop around and get one at trade-in value and you will have a good 1st car or commuter.
Radio with MP3 capability and front AUX input, 8 spkrs. Speed sensitive steering. Italian hatchback styling. Interior room. Dash layout. Standard features and 100k powertrain warranty. Not a BMW or Audi but as an entry level vechicle, better than expected.
Make cruise control standard. Improve mpg without sacrificing performance. Make keyless entry and ABS standard.
The Reno has a lot more get up an go than I had expected. On my trip home from the dealer I had stopped for a traffic signal and pulled out when the light changed and was up to 35 mph when I realized I was still in 5th gear. I got 29 mpg on the trip home from the dealer. I decided to drive from home to the top of Whitetop mountain (1,600 ft to 3,100 ft altitude). It went up the mountain at 40 mph in 5th gear with no feeling of strain or handling problems on the 25 mph curves. When the pavement gave way to gravel and 4 inches of snow I down shifted to 4th gear and slowed down to 35 mpg and zipped past several 4 wheel drive vehicles sitting in the ditches. Mu 49 mpg on the trip was excellent.
The comfort and ease of driving in mountain areas. I like a car that has adequate power and is good handling for curvy mountain roads. Being able to reach all of the controls without stretching is a great plus.
So far my Reno has been a good solid car. I have the manual transmission. Its power is OK for a car in this class. The interior is a little uncomfortable, but with an 8-way adjusting driver seat and plenty of front leg room, it's OK. It sounds good, I haven't noticed excessive wind noise yet. Backing up is a little troublesome. Coming from a Ford Ranger with a very open rear view, it feels a bit claustrophobic looking out the rear window. Overall, at the price I bought it, I'm very satisfied.
The interior styling, sound system, and how it is such an easy driving car.
Give it a more powerful engine, softer seats, better wheel style, and better rear visibility.