An unbeatable value, that keeps on going when newer vehicles cannot
Blew original engine at 130000km (result of previous owners' neglect).
Rack and pinion began leaking profusely and needed replacement 148000km. Re-built rack, $100.
Front floor pan completely rotted out. New floor and left frame rail installed for $600.
Rear wheel cylinder leaked. Replaced for $10.
Brake master-cylinder internal leak. Replaced for $21.
This was my first car given to me by someone I knew who was the third owner. The previous owners let the oil run dry on the original 2.2 a few too many times. As such, after about 5000 km of ownership, a connecting rod bearing failed and ate part of the crank journal. The darn thing still ran, but it sounded like someone was trapped inside the engine, and was trying to break out with a sledge hammer.
I swapped in a 2.5 from a 92 Shadow. What a difference! Although it uses noticeably more fuel, it's much quicker, quieter and smoother than the 2.2.
The automatic transmission is a rugged piece, but the gearing is downright awful. Mated to this transmission, the 2.2 is an absolute dog. The 2.5, however, acquits itself rather nicely with the automatic on account of its greater torque. Still, a 5-speed or an automatic with lower gearing would improve acceleration dramatically.
What strikes me the most about this vehicle is its sterling reliability and ease of maintenance. Even after sitting outside on the coldest Canadian winter nights, it'll start on the first attempt, and the heater works so effectively that one can sit in the car in the dead of winter wearing a t-shirt and shorts. Parts are available and inexpensive, and the vehicle is easy to diagnose and repair.
Shod with proper winter tires, the car is unstoppable. I drove through a major snowstorm and passed many more modern cars and SUVs that got stuck in the ditch.
The exterior styling is pure 1980s American; simple, boxy and yet elegant in its own offbeat way. The interior is quiet and comfortable with good soundproofing and soft seats.
The car drives smoothly and quietly on the highway although wind noise becomes intrusive at 120km/h.
In city traffic, the 2.5 has enough zip on tap to get through those tight situations. On twisty roads however, the Aries is out of its realm, displaying considerable under-steer, body roll and chassis flexing.
Overall, the Aries is a tremendous value, and surely one the best vehicles ever produced by the American auto industry.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 7th September, 2006