This was my mother-in-law's car before she decided to give it to us as our wedding present. I spent some time fixing it and doing maintenance on it before we got it (she never did much to it, just drive it). After we got it, not many things went bad. Just regular things like CV boots ($55 for the entire axle), lower ball joint boots (still did not replace them), ABS module ($100 to rebuild it), alternator ($90 or so), odometer ($8 for the gear). I know that the evaporator core for A/C will go bad at some point, it is really common. The main thing is that I feel really good about my wife driving it with the kids, I know they are safe in it. Make it cheap, find parts online, you will save money.
Safety, good looking exterior, comfortable inside, fun to drive. Because of being an older model, It is possible to find cheaper parts for it, rebuild the old parts, etc.
Better gas mileage, design of their parts (like the ABS, evaporator core, etc).