I have been a big fan of this car since I bought it new seven years ago.
I bought the 5-speed manual base line model.
And for the first 100K, the only thing I had to replace were the usual things - tires, battery, brake pads, clutch (in that order).
In fact, the clutch didn't start to go until I cleared 110K, and I do a lot of city driving.
In the last six months, the car has just started falling apart.
First the clutch, then the parking brake (twice), the struts, the suspension system, the air conditioner is leaking... I've put more money into this car in the last three months than I did the whole rest of the time I've owned it.
Good gas mileage, higher seats than most cars of this class, decent backseat size, incredible cargo capacity, and just awfully dang cute.
I would have put in a better sound system (the factory one is cheap), set the clutch lower (a mechanic can do this for you) and what is up with the hubcap locks?
I lost a hubcap every time I hit a pot hole for the first year, at which point I chucked them all and replaced them with Camry ones.
Also, the ride was never exceptional, although I never considered it a major issue.