DRIVING

You know what? It drives pretty well. On winding and hilly roads, the car’s comparatively wide stance makes it feel solid, with little body roll. I drove the “+”, “!”, and “sport” trims — both automatics and a manual — and though quiet at steady speeds, passing prompted the ancient 4-speed transmission-equipped models to “Weeee” into third to make a pass. A five-speed automatic would work wonders for the car’s overall performance in hilly terrain.

The “sport” model I drove had “sport-tuned” suspension, 18-inch wheels, fog lights, a premium stereo with a subwoofer, a sunroof and the infamous “mood lamp” that beats in tune with the music. Why the mood lighting and not a 5-speed automatic? Or a telescoping steering column for shorter drivers? And why 18-inch wheels on a compact car that are expensive to fit winter tires to in colder climates — especially since many first-time buyers will gravitate toward this car.

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