1980 Reliant Kitten DL 850cc Saloon
An absolute world beater!!!
No major problems, just the occasional replacement of parts due to wear - which you've got to expect on owning a car for 22 years!
Head gaskets tend to 'seep' a little and need replacing about every 6 years (this, I suspect, is due to the fact that you can't put a high torque on the head nuts because of the engine being made of aluminium)
Quite a surprising performance considering the tiny engine, but this is, no doubt, due to the very light nature of the car (fibre-glass body and aluminium engine). This same feature accounts for the very long life on many components - brake pads, clutch, tyres, etc.; and also the incredible fuel economy. MPGs of between 50 - 60 are the norm on long runs.
The vehicle is also surprisingly comfortable for a supposed 'budget' car, and while the seating in the front does not feel too spacious, I love the driving position, with all the controls feeling so close at hand. I always had the feeling that I was in the cockpit of a small aeroplane - magic! The beautiful short-movement 'clicky' gear lever, is a delight to operate - feels so positive. Steering is also very positive - you feel in total control!
The car's tiny turning circle is astonishing - with the vehicle almost revolving on the spot: parking is a cinch, and 'three-point-turns' become virtually extinct!
One gripe: the cars are notorious for having water dripping in all over the place. It doesn't cause any major problems due to the fibre-glass body, but it is a little disappointing to have the carpets constantly wet (well, almost), and water would occasionally run from the boot to the underpart of the rear seat, making it wet and unusable without a plastic sheet to cover it.
My car was still in excellent condition after 22 years of ownership, the engine running as smoothly as the day it came out of the factory - and still didn't touch a drop of oil (115,000 miles on!). It only came to its end when some idiot ran into it, and 'wrote it off'. A very sad loss!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 17th February, 2003