This is not a driver's car
Both front suspension mounts went bad soon after purchase, resulting in wrecked shocks and a failed Warrant of Fitness.
Auto transmission had this annoying habit of taking a few seconds to engage Drive from Park if left idling for a couple of minutes after being driven (e.g. taking a delivery into customer while leaving engine running). The car would give almighty jolt when eventually engaging Drive.
The cheap no-name battery died.
The car was so basic, there really wasn't too much else to go wrong with it.
This car was purchased used from Japan to replace an old, very well used NZ built 1987 Ford Laser wagon. The Libero is a domestic Japanese market Lancer wagon, with many more variants than the local Lancers. The top spec is the GT, which I think is 1.8L turbo 4WD.
The G is the almost rock-bottom spec (The E is the bottom spec, which only came in white and had no rear window wiper). This G had a 1.5L carby motor, 3 speed auto trans, AM only radio with one speaker (not even a cassette), no rev counter & vinyl trim. But it did have power steering, front power windows, air con, and was metallic gold, but had unpainted bumpers/fenders. The back seat was designed to be kept down flat most of the time, and was rock hard and uncomfortable if the seat back was used upright.
It beeped when in reverse (inside, not outside!) but didn't beep if you left the headlights, on resulting in the occasional flat battery.
Essentially, this car was a van, and drove like one. It was noisy, the transmission could never make up its mind what gear to be in, which also made it slow to accelerate (worse with the aircon on), and the engine would scream its head off on the motorway. It also had trouble with hot starting. It needed premium fuel or it would ping ping.
Despite the fact it showed 44000 km on the odometer when purchased, it drove like it had 4-5 times that, so it was either wound-back before it left Japan (this is a known problem with grey imports), or it had spent its life in traffic jams in Japan.
The first two things I did was put better tyres on it, as it had skinny 155's, and changed the radio with a CD/FM unit. Even though it only had a speaker on the driver's side, the wiring was already in place for another speaker on the passenger side.
Overall, I guess it did its job, but it was not pleasant to drive, and I highly doubt it would make 100,000 km without a full transmission rebuild, which wouldn't be worth the money. This was NZ$13,000 to purchase, which I think was too much. The NZ built Lancers were so much better, but were more expensive.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 13th March, 2011