1989 Dodge Colt Vista 4WD Wagon 2.0 from North America


It was an excellent utility vehicle for its day


The rear counter shaft bearing in the transmission failed at 160,000 miles. This is a very common failure on the 4WD Vista's. There is an oil slinger in front of this bearing that is supposed to sling oil at the bearing; I find that it actually keeps oil away. This transmission bound up and could not be shifted. There was no other damage. I removed the oil slinger, installed a new bearing, did some clean-up and spent 5 hours to putting the transmission back in the car.

Another problem was a plugged catalytic converter. Engine would start, but had very little power. Replaced the converter, did a tune-up, and the engine perked right up. 12 years later it was still running strong.

When 5th gear stopped working, I found that the switch on the shift linkage was bad, and no longer available anywhere. I manually moved 5th gear into position, and left it there. This resulted in a change in gear ratio's for all the other gears, and moved overdrive to the 4th gear position. I think it works better this way.

General Comments:

This car has good performance, handles well, and is very reliable, after its maintenance issues were solved.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th April, 2011

10th May 2012, 16:07

Hi, I'm considering buying one. I really like it. Could you please give me the details of how to do the overdrive 5th gear trick?

22nd May 2012, 10:14

How did you manually move it into 5th gear permenantly?

1989 Dodge Colt Vista 2.0 from North America


After careful inspection I would buy another abandoned car


I bought this car in Sept. 2004 at the police auction of abandoned vehicles for $300.

I knew going in that there was no water in the radiator, but there was water in the crankcase. therefore I was prepared to replace the engine.

The problem was a blown head gasket. The mechanic found that the head had been off a few months previous. Radiator was boiling at the top and normal temperature at the bottom. New thermostat installed and head gasket replaced. Now runs extremely well.

Cooling fan had come loose from the radiator and had to be re-soldered.

General Comments:

In the short time I've owned it it seems to be a really good car. 19.5 mpg in a hilly city and highway. Has all extras, outstanding viability with no blind spots. comfortable seats. Body and interior in mint condition, so it looks great.

Cassette player is in poor condition.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd April, 2005

1987 Dodge Colt Vista 1.5 Liter 4-Cylinder from North America


A good economic car


The timing belt was replaced in 1999, at about 128,000 miles.

The right front tire rod snapped over the winter of 2002, with about 146,000 miles on it.

The air conditioning went out in 2003, at about 148,000 miles.

Front brakes and rotors had to be replaced in the summer of 2003, with 151,000 miles on it.

The windshield cracked over the winter of 2002.

General Comments:

This car has been good for the past 16 years. Things might have gone wrong with it over the years, but that is expected with a 16 year old car.

The gas mileage is very good, very helpful with the way gas prices are these days. It averages around 25 miles per gallon in the city and 35 miles per gallon on the highway. The gas tank holds 11 gallons. I usually average 250 miles between each fill up.

The heater on this car is awesome. No other car I have been in or drove has a better heater. When the air conditioning was running (until 2003), it was very cold.

The car cannot go above 75 without vibrating. Being a young driver, this is really good for me. It is a good way of telling you to slow down.

During July of 2003, it finally turned over 150,000 miles. My goal is to reach 200,000 miles before I end up giving it up for good.

Overall, this car has been great to me and my family. My parents bought it back in 1987 and now have handed it down to me. It is reliable, a good car to drive around in, and very good on gas.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th September, 2003

22nd Apr 2008, 13:41

If the owner wants to keep his Vista going, plenty of information is available about making improvements on the parts of the car which are frequent maintenance problems. I am overhauling an '87 Vista, and have learned a great deal from Mike's Automotive Services in Sequim, WA. Mike is a Vista enthusiast and very helpful.

I have just learned of a "Colt/Vista" site, which I am trying to join. Google it. If this doesn't prove useful, I might start a vistablog.

21st Jun 2009, 22:08

I am VERY glad that you are enjoying your Vista! My family owned a baby blue 1985 from the fall of 1984 through the winter of 1993-4 & I would give ANYTHING to have one just like it now! I'll take mine with the carbureted 2.0 liter MCA-Jet 4-cylinder, 3-speed automatic, & Custom Package with full cloth interior, power mirrors, digital clock, & map lights as that is exactly what we had, thank you very much!