I bought this car earlier this year, and I drive it extremely hard. I've had no problems with it as far as repairs and such, which for me is unusual. The car has a decent top speed, although the acceleration is really bad. Its handling is pretty good for FWD. It's good on gas, looks good, is very sturdy, and is a well made automobile for sure.
I bought this baby new in '96, have 105,000 miles on it. No major, unexpected repairs, except mufflers (3 times); and the usual tune-ups, tires. The paint still looks great, I waxed yearly for first few years. It's built solidly, the interior is spartan but very functional (ingenious use of texturized plastics). It has never had a squeak or rattle, and still looks great in and out. I'll drive it until it dies, which might be a long time - as I see other reviews with much more than 100,000 miles. This is an uncomplicated, reliable - (Knock on Wood) - fun to drive, solid car, and I love it.
I purchased her online through E-Bay. The selling price was $3500, which at the time, was about $800 under book value. I flew out to Logan Intnl, picked her up and drove her back to Michigan all in a 26 hour period. Even with the flight, I was under book price, and she managed 39 mpg on the trip across New York state, and Canada. I have had 5 years of trouble free ownership, this past year she had some electrical difficulties, but I will get that repaired. The 2 liter, four door, manual transmission was what I wanted and needed for a 3 person family car. I have driven her to New Jersey once, and the UP of Michigan about 5 times. She waxes my wifes Taurus on the road, and is comfortable.
This is the first car I bought and, while it doesn't look bad from the outside, I have had an extensive list of mechanical problems with this piece of junk. In two years I have brought this thing to the shop for repair at least once every three months, with about an average bill of $80 per visit. Wheel bearings a few times a year, two water pumps, chronic bulb burn-outs, busted AC and cruise are too expensive to have fixed, airbag light is on, rapid rust corrosion, replaced trail arm bushing (almost killed us), NO GLOVE COMPARTMENT, 3 hour wheel alignment, chronic off-center steering, almost no heat in winter, broken window assembly, the list goes on... Good on fuel though.