The car is very stylish to look at and has a very solid feel.
The steering is very light, possibly too light at high speeds. The gear change is very light and feels like a direct box, even though it is a cable linkage. It drives and handles like a fast sports car. Having ABS brakes is useful safety provision.
The engine develops a large amount of power and accelerates fast. In usual driving it does about 38mpg, so for it’s size is reasonably economic.
The cabin is comfortable with plenty of legroom for rear passengers. The car is well equipped with many luxury touches like electric sunroof, windows, mirrors, and height adjustable headlights. Later models were fitted with air conditioning as standard.
The Weekend estate version is very practical. When the rear seats are folded down (no need to remove head restraints) there is a 6 feet long load area. The drop down bumper means you normally have a sill, but once lowered items like a door can be carried with the boot lid down. There are also 4 lash down points.
The roof rails are a useful addition if you want to carry sheets of plywood or plasterboard.
The insurance is for this model is Group 17. In 2005 it cost just under £300 with Elephant Insurance for fully comprehensive, but with a 70% protected No Claims Discount.
The big word of warning is do not buy one of these cars unless you have the red key. If you have an engine management problem, the red key is essential for the diagnostics. Not having the red key will mean a new Electronic Control Unit and new door locks and keys – about £1,200.
Overall I love driving this car and intend to keep it for a number of years.