This was my first car and I grew really attached to it! Yes it was old and tired, but it was a surprisingly reliable car. My parents owned it for 4 years before I got it, and all they had to replace 2 brake disks and the exhaust. It sailed through every MOT without fault.
The 5 was a nice car, good to drive, and had a great driving position with lots of room in the front. The seats were comfortable, but shapeless and could not support you if you were pushing on round a bend. The ride was very smooth and soft, but the downside to this was HUGE amounts of body roll!
It had very little rust for its age, and I think the shape stood the test of time quite well. I'd love a GT version, but insurance is impossible at the moment.
Perhaps the only real reason I got rid of this car after a year was the fact it had no heater, and to fix it would cost a lot as the dash had to be taken off. Someone told me he had fixed his by bending the bottom of the console and sliding the unit out, but I couldn't manage this. The car would always be cold inside, the windows would never de-mist properly, and on frosty mornings it was quite dangerous as the ice would simply not clear and even get worse!
Wearing a hat and gloves to work was not much fun after a few weeks!
The 1237cc 55bhp engine was a little noisy, but economical, I got about 49MPG average from mixed driving, a little more on a long run.
I now have a fiesta 1.1, and whilst it's more refined and warm (!), it's nowhere near as much fun to drive, not quite as economical, and is slower too.
Quite simply it doesn't have the character. I'd have another R5 tomorrow if the design was more modern.