Honestly, with all the bad stuff floating around about this car, I purchased it knowing and fully expecting the motor to die on us, I just wanted to get about a year of service out of it, and I must say, it has well exceeded that goal, with virtually no investment above normal maintenance.
I run a super thin synthetic blend oil, to help reduce the chance of sludge build up, change the oil and filter about every 4-5k miles. I have never had any signs of problems, save for one 'scare', let alone anything major with the motor.
The scare came on an early morning after the car had sat for a very cold weekend without being driven. After starting it up, there was a fairly loud tapping for about 30 seconds. Shutting the car off and turning her back on a few minutes later, the sound was gone, and has remain gone since. I assume it was something like a sticky lifter or something along those lines, but I truly hope I never find out.
Now, working towards its 3rd year of valiant service as a family car for us, I can honestly say I am thrilled with the car. I have put less than $4000 into the car, including purchase price, repairs, maintenance, and a set of tires, brakes and rotors. It's still going strong, and I believe it very well make it beyond 150k miles, and with some TLC well beyond.
Let me also say that this car is absolutely superb on gas. Guzzling is not in its vocabulary. Sipping would be a much better word. Every other week this car does over a 250 mile round trip on a single tank of gas, with some to spare.
Performance, considering it's not an R/T, or a sports car by any means, is great. It goes when you step on the pedal. Period. It doesn't matter if you're doing 30 and need to jump up to 40, or pass someone in a 55, or even merge from a 55 to a 70, this car will get there, and in a hurry if necessary. It never complains, never shifts hard, never stutters. I have never raced the car, nor attempted a top speed, as it simply doesn't NEED to do those sort of things for what it is to us; a family car, but I am certain it would perform well, were I to ever to try.
I think if people take good car of these motors, and the car itself in particular, they will see that these things, while not bullet proof, can be very reliable, comfortable, fun to drive, and very inexpensive for a large sedan.