the d2.3 has awesome torque! buy it! My sister had a 2.3 with an auto and it was extremely reliable. It never had a single problem engine wise. Only had to general maintence and replace the ignition lock cylinder.
2003 Ford Focus ZX3("FUBARCUS" was "Brokus") - old and still busted
2007 Subaru Impreza 2.5i - current DD