It's a one cool car
Engine died because of a worn out oil pump. I thought the oil light is flashing because of a broken oil pressure sensor... I still managed to drive home for about 80 km; and the next day the engine was completely screwed...
In 2005 one relay on the fuel injection system failed (the so called 'dual - combination relay').
It took 1 minute to replace it, but a lot of time to diagnose the problem.
Main issue on this car: RUST, especially on the bottom (under driver's and codriver's feet) and the doors.
This car was my main car between 2002 and 2008, I drove around 100.000 km with it and it never let me down.
2.0 E fuel injected engine has excellent low and midrange torque; it doesn't like high RPM, though.
I recommend installing a 5 speed gearbox on this engine to reduce RPM and noise at motorway speeds.
Acceleration from 0-100 is excellent (under 10s). Top speed is not so great due to high wind resistance (around 185 kmh), but with 5 speed you can cruise with 130 kmh @ 3000 rpm.
Fuel consumption is between 8 and 9.5 l per 100km, which is pretty good for that amount of power.
Handling is great. It's very easy to control and gives you an overall pleasant feeling to drive. You may want to install a bit stiffer gas shock absorbers to reduce leaning in corners, though.
Safety: the structure is fairly solid for frontal impacts; protection for side impacts is a bit weak - compared to newer cars, of course.
All in all - this car is the 'new classic' for enthusiasts, but also great for daily driving.
After 6 years, I have to say, this has to be one of the most reliable, pleasant to drive and good looking cars in Europe. :)
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 3rd January, 2009