I lease a 2003 and will end up buying it out. It's not a bad car. I will be replacing the seats though. They are extremely uncomfortable. I think a good set of used leathers from ANY car would be better. Maybe a trashed Lexus for a joke. Anyway, nice review.
You hope to get 200,000 miles out of it??? You will be lucky to get 100,000 out of it.. Be best to get rid of it before warranty runs out.. Very Cheap car is about the only good thing about it. Ford Escort is a lot better of a car and the ZX2 will WHOOP it.
I have to disagree with the last comment; if a car is well maintained, it will definitely last until 100 000 miles or more. Ford isn't perfect either; the first generation of the Focus was botched from start to finish with loads of electrical problems. And with all due respect a 2003 Cavalier Z-24 can smoke an Escort ZX2 any day! The quality of these cars isn't half as bad as everyone makes it out to be. I'm at 65 257 miles on mine and i still have the original brake pads on them. I do my oil changes every 3000km and it has never left me stranded.
I don't care what small car is the fastest. I know that I get 33-36 mpg with my 04 @75000+ miles. Do your maintenance and it will last a long time. Shucks, I saw an 86 station wagon Cavalier with 300,000 miles on it.