You'll feel like the organic part of the car
On our salty roads, the bottom part of the engine (where the oil is) corroded. It was fixed and a protection was welded over it after that.
Something in the steering mechanism got "tired" and was swapped (cost ~$40).
The previous owner swapped the exhaust (one part of it, anyway).
The car has been kept fairly well - needed services have been made when designated in the manual.
Don't like the way the front suspension handles when accelerating. The suspension is fairly soft, so when accelerating harder, the front end tends to rise a bit higher and when shifting gears, it "falls back down". On the flip side of the coin - the ride is comfy (both on highways, in town and in the countryside)... very comfy, indeed.
Brakes are very good (the ABS works well too - not too intrusive, but kicks in when needed on slippery conditions).
Handling is very goods (except the hard accelerating part and going into tight curves with speed - it again tends to roll to the outside due to the soft suspension).
Seats are comfortable (good space in front and back seats are OK for anything except the longer of drives), the heating system is adequate (even in this climate), the seat heating has three heating levels, electric mirror heating is good.
Trunk space is OK and you can put the back seats down, but that won't give you very much extra space (not as much, as you'd expect). Still, it's enough and easily comparable to other cars of its class (probably even beats many of them).
Some people have said that rear mirror visibility is bad due to the car being a hatchback, but I found that the visibility was good.
The driving experience is very good - you feel like the organic part of the car. The 1.8L version has enough oomph to make the drive rather fun and that power (85KW for that relatively light car - 1100kg) is useful in town, where you sometimes have to make maneuvers.
A couple of days ago, my precious was "ran over" by a large Volvo FH truck near a zebra crossing (conditions were slippery in some parts, but the other driver didn't pay very much attention to the road at that particular moment neither). Insurance thinks that it will be too expensive to repair, so they'll probably pay me the market value for it.
The accident happened at low speeds (30kmph), but the other car was very heavy, so it pushed my car some twelve meters from where I was standing. Everybody in the car walked away without injury, but there is good damage to the rear end of the car (it swallowed much of the impact energy, so that's part of the reason we didn't get hurt).
I miss the car... was jolly good fun to drive.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 27th February, 2004