1985 Plymouth Reliant SE 2.6 Mitsubishi
A mini tank
Carb needed a rebuild.
CV joint boot.
AC compressor seized.
Power steering pump.
This was my first car. I got it in May of 2000. It had been my grandmother's car and had been left in her driveway, uncovered, untouched for 7 or 8 years, 7 or 8 New England winters. When they sold off her estate, they were gonna junk it so I asked if I could have it, and got it for free. To get it running, the carb needed a rebuild and that was it, this was not cheap though and cost me $800, more than the car was worth. Yep it was a gamble, but it paid off.
I got 3 reliable years out of the K-car. It had the usual problems, never had an expensive repair after I got it on the road though. The power steering pump I replaced with a unit from the junkyard. The AC never worked so we just took off the compressor and tossed it after it seized. The 2nd time the alternator went, it was under warranty so it got replaced for free. Overall it was a very cheap car to maintain.
The Mitsubishi engine had pep and was problem free until the end (get to that in a bit), but was a gas guzzler. In its old age, the thing could only return at best 20mpg, and at worst in cold wet weather, 14mpg. It also could never pass emissions after the 1st year of ownership. Given in MA it was cheaper to pay a fine for a reject sticker than fix the emissions, I chose to drive it with the reject sticker. I paid a $50 fine once and that was it.
It was extremely comfortable. The SE had plush bucket seats, not the bench most K-cars had. I could go forever in Cadillac comfort.
This car handled the snow like nothing else I've ever driven. I've yet to drive a car that can handle the snow like the K-cars. Eat your heart out Subaru fans.
For a college kid, it was fun having a beater box. It was reliable and indestructible. I put it through lots of abuse and it handled it like a tank. I would have kept it longer, but in the end it suffered the same fate of all 2.6 powered k-cars. The engineers at Mitsubishi decided to make the timing chain guides out of plastic, which wore down and would eventually break. The end is foreseeable since the guides start to vibrate and you hear clanking in the engine at low RPMs. This was no $100-$200 repair job, so I started looking for a new car. I replaced the Reliant with an 88 Prelude SI 4WS soon after I graduated. The timing chain guides never fully broke, I drove her into the junkyard. I wonder at times how much longer she would've gone for if I had just kept going till the guides totally went.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 19th November, 2009