Buy it. Grab one now! Spacious, GREAT smooth ride, ok performance, super inexpensive to buy, maintain, repair and insure. It's no sports car, it's certainly no gas miser Prius (12 dense traffic, 16 mix, 23 highway @ 80mph), but if you want a comfortable, roomy, low cost per mile ride this is it.
The interior materials are not high quality but are serviceable. The trunk is good old American sedan huge and the car seats five comfortably, six in a pinch. The rear air suspension does a great job of keeping the car level when loaded. The handling is not as bad as some write ups would have you believe. It's open differential RWD without stability control. If you don't have a reasonable understanding of physics, go find a modern nanny-mobile to do the driving for you.
You can drive over pot holes without worrying about blowing a tire or knocking the front end out of line. It's much more forgiving than a modern FWD with weenie low profile tires. Personally, I got tired of replacing tires and wheels during winter driving. 2006 and newer models share a solid 4 speed transmission with the F150 pickup truck. This is a solid vehicle.
This car drives great,looks good, is comfortable and well built over all. There are thousands of people who share this view. Ford please do something to quiet some of these radical critics who make fun of this great vehicle. The more people are made to believe this propaganda, the more our resale value for the vehicle falls.
these consumer report guys are cracked! I get an average of 23mpg just driving it to and from work. They say thats the max. on the highway I have recorded a max average for that tank of gas 28.3 mpg (maintaining a steady 65mph for extended period of time with minamal non-freeway driving) This particular trip, I filled up in Beloit,WI and didn't fill up again until Rolla,MO; mapquest it to see how many miles!
This car is a living room on wheels-- very comfy, nice and quiet and plenty of room. If you're looking for a sports car--keep looking, if you're looking for comfort and functionality for a reasonable price--this is it. For about 2k more than my wife's element-- I ride in elegant comfort.