1989 Dodge Aries LE 2.5 from North America
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
7th Sep 2006, 23:45
Whoa dude I think most of those comments are made due to your inexperience with better cars. I had a tempo that was still going after 300,000 kms on original engine, trans and most of the other stuff. But it's quality wasn't enough to make up for the better technology in new cars, some of which would even go further than that tempo. I have an sx 2.0 neon and a 2002 grand am which are a better ride with more grunt and better looks too of course.
10th Sep 2006, 11:28
Hmm you must have had the one good one then...
10th Sep 2006, 21:24
The K's were awesome-- only one problem with my '88 the seat was murder on my back. Me and my brother were driving to Wyoming and he says (after about 2hrs.) "Dude- this seat is DOING something to my back." Scientific proof it wasnt just me... I still like the cars- they were in many ways superior to most new vehicles now, too bad for the cheap bench seat!
9th Feb 2007, 12:32
Clearly this person who had the Tempo was drinking while leaving this comment, talk about an awful car - there was never a worse car made.
9th Feb 2007, 14:29
Have to disagree... my Tempo is still rolling along 13 years later.
18th May 2008, 14:11
Wow the tempo was so terrible my buddys and I actually pushed it off a cliff I can't list all the things wrong with it. Can't believe I passed up a K-Car for it. Young and stupid I was.