Good transport (even fun), but questionable reliability
Check engine light went on at about 35000 miles. The problem was a fuel line and the repair was covered by the warranty.
Rattling noise at 1500 rpm with more than 1/2 throttle. This has never been fixed, despite repeated dealer visits and many hours of labor billed to GM under the warranty.
Catalytic converter replaced under warranty.
Fuel sensor went bad, replaced under warranty.
Random noise at low speed in 1st with clutch out and no throttle pressure. Dealer has never been able to pinpoint the problem.
Front tires replaced at about 37000 miles.
Alignment needed adjustment at about 43000, or so the shop told me.
Squeaking noise in low-speed turns. This was fixed under warranty with a lubrication of the weather stripping.
The hose which feeds the windshield sprayer developed a leak. I have taped it up, but this is only a temporary fix.
One blown fuse. This was easily fixed by me.
The fan makes a funny noise, although the dealer says it's normal.
The car runs hot sometimes (1-2 ticks above the middle mark). The dealer says it's normal.
Increasingly often, I have a hard time getting the car into first gear when stopped. More of a nuisance, but I am afraid it is a sign of transmission troubles to come.
I actually like this car quite a bit.
That said, the list of problems above is pitiful for a car that is only 2.5 years old. I have had approximately 7 visits to the dealer for unscheduled repairs. Everything was covered by the warranty, but now it is up and I am relying on an aftermarket extended warranty. I would not recommend owning this car without a warranty.
Performance is underwhelming, but perfectly acceptable for a nonenthusiast. It's not fast, but it runs fine at highway speeds (80-85). Fuel economy is excellent if you keep your speed down, good otherwise.
The car is very comfortable. I have driven 800-mile days with absolutely no problems. Bring some good music, though!
The best thing is the low low maintenance costs. Oil changes and air filters are the only service items before 100k. This is much better than the Japanese brands I've looked at. There are no tuneups required before 100k and this car has no timing belt to replace.
Overall, a good value, but reliability has not been impressive so far. The car has never left me stranded, however, and it still runs like new!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th July, 2003