I've owned over 20 cars and the one I had the most fun with was the PT Cruiser. Not everyone is a fan and for me that was part of the appeal. It's a lot of fun to drive, it's bigger than it looks, and comfortably seats 4, 5 in a pinch. It has plenty of cargo room. One of the drawbacks is fuel mileage, I was getting around 18 overall (non turbo) (16-18 mpg city, 23 highway), Turbo mpgs are lower and require higher octane gas. It's not what you would expect for a 4 cylinder car. It was a blast to drive, handles well, and rides smooth. The last year was 2009 or 2010. It's not difficult to find for under $10k with 40-50k miles. Mine (2002 Dream Cruiser) was extremely reliable. Repairs can be a bit pricey due to that many repairs are labor intensive because the engine is bay is very tight. Parts are about what you'd expect. Replacing a timing belt (recommended every 60k miles) was around $600. Regular preventive maintenance items cost are average. I belonged to a car club locally and a few PT Cruiser forums nationwide and it wasn't uncommon to see PT Cruisers with over 200,000 miles on the original engine. If you consider the PT, don't get a base model. Touring models are pretty well equipped. There are a ton of aftermarket parts available and it's very easy and reasonably affordable to make modifications to the car which set it apart from the others and personalize it to your liking. I strongly recommend that whatever vehicle you consider, look up a couple of forums that are specific to that vehicle. You will get the most informative responses from current owners on the forum, they are usually quite knowledgable and can tell you which years to avoid and what problems to look out for.
The other car I would recommend is the Toyota Corolla (2014 or newer.) Very well laid out, I found it to have a very nice ride and it offers a lot of bang for the buck. The only thing "sport" about the sports version is the label. Good fuel economy and very reliable. I almost bought a MINI bought the repair costs scared me away.