The car is a reliable, spacious and economical mode of transport. It is no looker and the interiors are dull and grey. Build quality is at par with industry average but surprisingly the car does not feel tinny. The 4 cylinder is very smooth but gets buzzy at high revs and power delivery is linear as expected from a compact sedan with economy in mind. The ride is neither too harsh nor too plush. It is somewhere in between. Handling is abysmal in tight turns though the steering is well weighted. Fuel economy is good. All electricals work seamlessly. It is very reliable and starts at the first crank every time. Cheap to own and run as well. Overall a perfect car on a shoe-string budget!
Bought used in 2008 with 26,000 miles for 5200 dollars. Still own it and love it today. Now has 126,000 miles and running strong. The only maintenance we have done is regular oil changes and timing belt change at 70,000 miles. Averaging 35 miles per gallon.
My wife bought this car used in 2006 after her 1999 Elantra was totaled. It had about 35,000 miles on it and we put another 85,000 on it. I put new brake pads on it one time, new plugs twice, changed the oil every 3 to 5000 miles, and we went through 1 and a half sets of tires. This car was super reliable and I would still be driving it at 120,000 miles if it had not been totaled recently. I have no doubt that this car would have made it to 200,000 or more miles. Was hit twice at high speed on a rainy day on HWY 210 and I walked away with no major injuries.
This car was a gift to my wife at 173K miles. It stood in the African sun for a year before the radiator was done and the head skimmed. After 200 miles on the very first trip, it overheated. Towed it to a work-from-home mechanic. Problem was a T-insert pipe in the cooling system repaired with silicon! This was re-engineered and all else done properly. After running it in for 2000 miles to settle the head, the power at 7K rpm pops your eyes. This engine is amazing; you can do anything at any rpm. Never saw such before. In Johannesburg above 5800 ft ASL I get 42 mpg. Semi-city and synchronized lights. The soft body is an all-round crumple zone. Saved me a bomb! 2nd choice after the Mazda3.
This is my first car, and I bought it almost 2 years ago with about 133,000 miles on it. It is a great car and was a great value. I have had only 1 major problem with it: my alternator belt broke last winter when it got to about -10ºF out, but I still managed to drive it the other half of the way to school (with no power steering). That was the only thing that has broke on this car to my knowledge and now its at the 149,000 mile mark. Also it has a bullet hole in it, so this cars a trooper.
Aaaannd, a minor difference, but I'd say this is a 'girl' car but not a 'girly' car. Like how boats are always referred to as feminine, thats this car.