I can't complain about looks. The factory sunroof and sound system work great. Plus, it's been decorated with chrome hubcaps, exhaust tip, and door guards along with a thermometer, compass, and an after-market CD player. The bug deflector, intended to prevent stone chips, also lends to style. Overall, things look nice and sharp and tend to stay that way for months at a time between cleaning.
I was also surprised by the amount of storage space for a 2-door car. The trunk is big to begin with, and since it opens up to the rear seating area with the back seats folded down, it's essentially a hatchback. I moved enough gear to fill a large 3-room apartment in 3 trips. If the trunk were higher, I might have even tried loading the refrigerator in it. The engine lost neither power nor fuel economy, even with the car stuffed tight.
This is supposedly an economy car, as it's compact, gets good gas mileage, and parts are cheap. However, when a large number of cheap parts need to be fixed, there's no savings. It's gone 2,000 miles, and I have yet to see how the car runs when everything works.
I bought the car 2 months ago and had all of these problems within that time period. I'm almost at my breaking point already with this car, as it's eaten up more than half of my annual repair budget in this time. This is especially troubling with the weather getting colder and putting more strain on the engine.
Not a performance engine, but the 140 hp is good considering that it's coming from a 4-cylinder engine. I have fun driving it, though, as this is the first time I've ever owned a car that wasn't underpowered.
Fuel economy is better than I expected. It was getting the 24 mpg I thought it would when I drove it off the lot, but after topping off the coolant and replacing the back tires, it's up to 27 mpg. I have yet to see what effect the repaired brakes, recent oil change, and new battery have, but I'm guessing this is the one thing that can improve.
As far as comfort, this car makes a better camping tent. I can sleep comfortably in it, but it's horrible on the road. My back aches after more than an hour of nonstop driving. Rear seats have a surprising amount of leg room, but unless your under 5'7", your head will actually hit the curved rear windshield when sitting up straight. The front bucket seats also fail to hold the driver and passenger in place when cornering.
Speaking of cornering, the body leans worse than my brother's SUV. I'm really bothered by this, as I thought it would be something I could avoid by looking at smaller cars. I have to go 10 mph below the advisory speed to round curves without making the tires squeal or finding my left side pressed against the driver's side door.
If my dad hadn't gotten upset about my 20-year old cars leaking oil on his driveway and paid for the newer car, I probably would've turned it down. I still have yet to see how well it runs when everything works, and I doubt this car's going to make it past 100,000 miles without a huge repair bill. My next car is going to be either an import, a late-model with low mileage, or both.
However, there are a few conditions on which I'd actually recommend this car -- if it has less than 60,000 miles on it, the previous owner was finicky about maintenance, and you don't plan on driving it more than 10,000 miles per year, it may actually be worth a look.