My girlfriend and I were shopping for a car and almost leased a new Mazda 3 sport GS. We opted instead for a 1998 Tercel CE metallic black on gray w/ AC. The car came with Blizzak snow tires on 13" rims (1998s came with 14"). The car is in amazing condition, especially inside. The cloth seats show no wear at all after 7 years! I replaced the snow tires with 13" Goodyear Allegras and the ride, handling and road noise all improved. The A/C blows cold (just a bit weak during the 36-37c heat wave). I have owned $55k BMW 3 series among other things and I am VERY impressed with this car. There are no squeaks and rattles!
Excellent ride, good A/C, good mileage, excellent build quality.
Fix the clunky shift linkage and improve the A/C strength slightly for very hot climates.