Cars that new are going to have computer controls to fine tune fuel metering for best performance and lowest emissions. It needs regular oil changes and periodic tire wear inspections. If tire wear is good, no alignment is necessary but most people have the tires rotated about every 10,000 miles. I personally never rotate my tires but they wear perfectly on my old minivan. The front pair typically wears out faster, then I replace just those two. When you rotate the tires, they will wear out at the same rate so you will buy four tires instead of two, but you'll need to buy them half as often.
Tune-ups are a thing of the past. Spark plugs often last 100,000 miles on many cars but I don't know the history of your model. Your car has the OBD2 emissions system if it was sold in the U.S. That's the "on-board diagnostics, version 2". The Engine Computer will detect misfires and turn on the Check Engine light and set a diagnostic fault code if that happens. That doesn't mean you should wait for the light to turn on to have it checked. That means you might have waited too long to replace the spark plugs. Of course a lot of other things are monitored and will also turn on the Check Engine light.
Other than the occasional air filter and fuel filter, the main thing to watch out for is the timing belt. Most import engines are of the "interference" design. When my timing belt breaks, I coast to the side of the road, drag it home, replace the belt in about four hours, and drive off into the sunset. When the belt breaks on an interference engine, you must also remove the cylinder head to replace the bent valves. That repair can easily exceed $2000.00. There will definitely be a recommendation in the owner's manual for what mileage to replace the timing belt. Don't wait that long. Years ago Honda recommended 75,000 miles on their cars, and the belt typically broke at about 60,000 miles. That's a real expensive repair you want to avoid.
As for the power and gas mileage, you aren't going to improve on that. If there's a problem, the computer will detect it and let you know.
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Friday, April 6th, 2012 AT 3:36 AM