This car has got to be the best car I've yet to own, in comparison to my '94 Mitsubishi lancer and an '85 Honda civic.
The thing that stood out first about this car to me was the fact that the thing drives like it is on rails! I drive regularly through Sydney and have found my Protege can go round corners at ridiculous speeds, (40KM/h for a () degree corner)
The second thing that did stand out was the lack of acceleration. It does move very well and has a lot of power. I drove with a full passenger load totaling just under 500kg (1/2 US ton) and noticed no change in hill climbs, but handling did of course drop off.
Luggage room is plenty enough, with enough room for 4-6 good sized sports bags, plus a sub-woofer.
Sub-woofer not needed due to a fantastic standard stereo, not tinny, but crystal clear sound.
I drive my car on the motor way every day to work, driving 120km/h average, over a distance of 120km. Comfort is a high priority for me, and this has been satisfied.
Drove to Brisbane with 2 passengers and the only problem I had was the seat feels very hard after 400km, but what car doesn't? - The 1.8L does have more plush seating.
Only 2 downsides to this car.
1) The window winders are in a very awkward position, but they don't bump against your knees when driving either.
2) The gearing has a very short 1st gear, meaning fast up to 20km/h and then 2nd gear has no juice in it.
I bought this car after high recommendation from my father, who owns the 1.8L and he was very right, no rattles at all, no niggles, just driving pleasure.