Well, I have been posting on and off about my car woes. I was (actually still am) driving an 88 acura legend with ~180,000 miles, no A/C, rust, and a bad C/V joint. I was having a really hard time finding what I wanted in a car at a price I could afford. Also, since we just bought a house and are still making payments on her car, I was having trouble convincing my fiance that I needed a new car sooner than later (especially since I am going to be traveling by air for work quite a bit this summer). Anyway, I wanted a wagon and I was doing a lot of "magazine racing" as they call it, and trying to rule out cars that I thought wouldnt be enough fun to drive, etc. Well, I was pretty much ready to rule out the Mazda Protege 5 because of its low horsepower engine but I kept reading these comparison reviews where it finished first because it was just plain the most fun to drive. So I took a shock yellow 5spd manual out for a test drive yesterday afternoon, and took my fiance back to the dealer and bought the car last night (not the one I test drove, it didnt have the right options, mine's black. No, its not WRX fast, but with just a better air filter I'm sure you could pull mid 8s 0-60 and it already feels pretty quick 0-45 wich is more practical for city drivers... its so nimble. I need to work on my shifting, because I had some problems merging (ie 35-65+mph) during the test drive, but that was my fault not the cars. Got about every option except the Automatic (of course) the "chrome wheels" (like the brushed aluminum better) the security system (dont need it in omaha) and the leather seats (black leather in Nebraska summers just doesnt apeal to me). Anyway, since it was fairly loaded but with a stick (+ the car's still a compact econo car and most of them arent tricked out) they had to get the car from Columbus MO. I will take delivery sometime between tomorrow and Friday. I'm so pumped. I might throw in a K&N air filter, but otherwise, it has to stay stock. Any advice on how to squeeze a little more horesepower out with really cheap, non-obtrusive mods?