Definitely a first car - you learn everything :)
I can't list all the things that have gone wrong with the car, this car requires constant maintenance. Small things, sometimes bigger things, the worst was an engine rebuilding, but I have to admit I forced the engine too much so it's my fault.
Note: the car stood in the garage for 9 years (after my father died) and I replaced the battery and the car started with that old oil/gas... imagine that!
You have to know that this car is a people's car in Romania. Everybody knows how to service the car and men usually service it for themselves. It's a different world from the USA. Very different, but not necessarily worse... here you have all the comfort, but you also depend heavily on servicemen.
This car is VERY cheap if you think in terms of US dollars, a complete engine rebuild cost me $250 and that is the biggest repair you can have on the car.
Although an old car with only 1.3L engine with a modest 57HP I managed 137kmh when the car was 26 years old, that's not far from the manufacturer's listed 140 km/h (87.5 mph) max. I could regularly go with 120kmh although for overtaking you have to think ahead because at high speeds you have really low acceleration :)
My suspensions are very old still the car can turn well and maintains a good handling. You have very good field of view in all directions, you see where the car ends and starts (unlike US cars), maybe the A column can bother you at sharp turns. My heating did not work very well, but that's a common problem... that was the worst thing actually about my car it gets pretty cold in Romania during the winter (-20C or around 0F) and you would really want heating, but oh well you just need to dress up a bit better. (don't dream about having anything power or AC in this car if you add it it will fail you the engine is not strong enough). I've seen custom added heating systems that worked really fine (using the car's cooling system (water cooled engine) ) so with a minor investment you could end up solving that problem too.
I managed a 7L/100km (35 mpg) on highway and in city it's usually 10L/100km.
Nobody wants to break into your car, it does not stand out of the crowd etc (advantage).
Biggest advantage: because it's so cheap to maintain, you can drive off-road and not worry much I driven past 4x4 new shiny Toyota's stuck in mud (you would be amazed where this car will take you) and the other thing: the whole suspension setup is modified so it takes well the usual bumpy Romanian roads, you will have less problems with bearings and stuff (anyway they are cheap even if you have to replace them).
The car is faithful if you service it it lasts, it does not break down randomly, just regularly.
I think that if you don't care about looks and want a cheap car in Romania, go for it. Expect servicing though.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 10th September, 2003