A year ago the driver's seat developed a hole and lost padding on the upper-left of the backrest. This is where I habitually make first contact with the seat, then I slide down. At 109 k I'm not surprised, nor disappointed.
Have it in right now (2008/07/21) for the first real maintenance since I bought it. I have kept careful care of her, changing oil and lube frequently. Problems now are worn bushings on front anti-sway bar, disintegrated spring caps, badly pitted brake rotors, disk brake pads down to nothing.
I take good care of her, but I don't drive soft. I have great fun charging corners, with hard acceleration, and I tend to brake late and hard. She's still a lot of fun to drive medium-hard.
Gets around 26 mpg when I drive sensibly, 18-20 when I'm having fun (which is a lot).
I've had her on 3 long trips, two over 3 k round-trip, found her comfortable and reliable (BTW, I'm 6-4 & 260). I drive her all winter, in N. Utah that's quite a bit of snow, lots of salt on the roads. She gets washed (detailed) in the spring.
I'm normally not very lucky, I can't help but think some of your complaints come from abuse.
Two years ago, on a freeway, at night, raining, construction zone, I was doing 45, something came out of the night, rolled up my hood, nailed the windshield, left some impressive dents on the leading surfaces. All I know it it was large, maybe a truck tire? Body shop wanted to 'total' it, but I've had so much fun with her I anted up 2500 for repairs. Still don't regret it.
If every car I owned ran like this and lasted like this, I would die a very happy and thankful man. Unfortunately, it's too late for that already; I've had a couple real losers. This is the first car I've ever bought brand-new, got a really good deal because nobody in the state wanted a purple neon. Poor fools.