Lived up to my expectations and worth the money
None so far.
Handles great as in it meets my expectations, I wasn't looking for a sportscar to fool around, just a nice 2-person car with some guts. In hindsight I am glad I haven't gone for the 1.6 110 hp diesel version, for an admittedly significant reduction in fuel consumption you get the same agility, somewhat worse handling in the bends and an additional 2000 euros on the pricetag.
The VTR+ 138 hp diesel one, now THAT would have been a nice car to own, unfortunately it's 4000 euros over this one in its basic version, and you just HAVE to have the parking assist, the swivelly xenon headlamps, the glass roof and all the other goodies which would bring the DDP price to over 20.000 euros.
I've managed to get my 1.6 VTR with alloy wheels, side airbags and CD player thrown in for free, plus two zone climate control and metallic paint as ordered optionals for 14.200 euros DDP, which IMO is a great bargain. I only regret not ordering the transparent roof, `twas an extra 500.
On to the car now, it is competent on rough roads (we have plenty around), windy roads, straight roads and the autobahn. comfortable, plenty of room inside for two people, getting slightly crammed if you accommodate four.
The huge doors are a headache in tight parking spots and the garage, same for backwards visibility, I find myself using the side mirrors A LOT. The coupe's looks more than make up for these inconveniences, though.
Fuel consumption, I'm having a hard time hitting the 9.5 l/100 km published for city driving, mostly it's about 10.5 peaking at 12 if you really push her. Highway it's about 5.5 @ 90 kph and 6.5 @ 130 kph, so no complaints there. You can easily get 900 kilometers worth of range from the 60-liter tank.
The gearbox is a bit on the short side, at 130 kph you're doing ~4000 rpm, that's about the highest speed that's practical in this car, any faster and the noise goes up, the fuel consumption goes up, and I bet engine life takes a dive too. So 130+ speeds are for short dashes only, overtakes and the like. Speaking of overtaking, it does well in this area, this is where the short gearbox really helps, floor it in fourth at 90-100 kph and the car lunges forward.
What else? The CD player is OK, radio idem, ergonomy A+, looks AAA++, it really is a head turner, adequate boot space (for two people), perfect reliability so far (although after only 5000 kilometers you can't really tell).
Some discrete rattles and squeaks have been acquired on and manifesting themselves on romania's nice cattle-trails that stand for regional roads. Quiet inside, virtually vibration free idle and city running (if the roadway cooperates), in fact a fellow diesel driver was under considerable distress every time he came to a halt at the stoplights, as it looked to him that the engine had stalled. A look under the car revealed sturdy, beefy construction.
Costs on the high side, both check-ups and spare parts, but hey, anything for my other significant other.
Dealer was nice, young friendly people eager for a sale, but not willing to sacrifice courtesy and with enough common sense to avoid pushing me into a decision, a thing that I hate with all my heart, and which always finally gets the exact opposite reaction out of me. The service - herding them along is one of my old childhood friends, pleasant surprise.
Overall I'd say an inspired acquisition.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 17th July, 2006