1998 Fiat Marea HLX TD100
A bargain, but not a 100% quality feeling
First I would like to make clear I only drove this vehicle 6 months until I had my accident. I can still share my experience with this car, but about long run reliability I can't say anything. But still I can share enough stuff.
The only thing mechanically that went wrong in the six months was the front suspension. Was like that when I bought it.
A sound like from the front suspension and a feeling of bad grip on very uneven surfaces. Like something is loose. I've heard this was a common issue with Fiat bushings and stuff to go bad. Never had the time to repair it, but for me it put a damper on the quality perception of this car.
The power windows didn't open all the way. Every time the motor stopped. You had flick the switch a couple of times before the windows were down. Up was never a problem. It might be a small problem, but I never took the time to fix it. Cause it kinda worked. But even for a bargain car it was annoying.
Wind noise from the sunroof. That for me was quite annoying. Was going to fix that later with a wind deflector costing 40 Euro.
I think that might have fixed it.
Paint scratches very easy.
This was my second car ever that I bought myself. Before I drove a Passat 1992 2.0 petrol station-wagon. for about 9 years.
After driving the Marea I was sold immediately. After testing a couple cars I got to the Marea. After one mile I was thinking this is my next car. I was looking for a simple stylish look. Cheap to run.
I had the HLX version. This car could have been a lot better with minor interior changes. 80% of the interior materials for me were just perfect. But little details like cheap internal discolouring doorhandles. Flimsy sunroof cover/sun visors ruin the overall Spartan but classy interior. And a bit bigger front seats. And higher quality roof cloth. For the rest the interior was perfect.
The look of the car I liked a lot. A discrete little stylish bargain that you don't see a lot on the road.
Engine and performance for me was adequate (100BHP) but I think the new JTD engines just give this car that little extra. If I would buy one again I would be looking for the JTD engine.
Seats were comfortable but could be better. I'm 1.83 m tall so room in the back-seat was just too small for this kind of family car.
As you probably noticed. I'm trying to like this car, but it always seems to fail on every important issue to be perfect for me.
As I said before, this car could have been so much better without having to spent more money on building it. But off course it's 11 year old. And it's almost fulfilling my needs TODAY.
I guess I'm being ungrateful to my absolute BARGAIN.
After my accident I will be sad to see it go. I think that says enough.
I'm a bargain shopper and I don't care about the brand. It has to appeal to me and give me bang for the buck, and has to be reliable.
If we had stayed together longer, this could have been a happy marriage I think.
My advice if you are considering this car. If you find this car for sale in perfect condition with low mileage. With no rattles in the front suspension. Take it for a drive if you like it, take it home with you if it's priced a bargain.
If you are looking for affordable no nonsense driving in a stylish little package, this is the car for you. Go for the diesel engine. Preferably the JTD. If you don't care about sporty driving, just go for the TD100 engine. Very simple reliable technology. Just wants oil and diesel to be a happy discrete dependable power plant.
All the people I know give me crap about buying this car. I always to defend my little car.
I feel more at home in my 1998 Fiat Marea then in my dad's 2008 Nissan Navara/Frontier pickup that cost ten times as much. I bought this car for the money he spends on maintenance and fuel a year. To each his own!!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 11th April, 2009