The car is worth keeping despite some mechanical problems.
Generally the car has costted me little in maintenance because I do it myself. Just like many others, the head gasket blew, the exhaust manifold cracked and the car does eat brakes. But there is a cure for these problems (read below).
The head gasket problem can be saved by re-torque the head bolts every 10,000-15,000 miles (3-5 oil changes). Simply remove the valve cover and loosen the head bolts in proper sequence and then re-torque in the proper sequence just as the car manual says to do so. See the manual for proper torque on bolts. This costs nothing to do, but about 15-30 minutes and saves you hundreds of dollars in the future.
By doing the above procedure it will also put less stress on your exhaust manifold. If the exhaust manifold has already crack you can purchase an aftermarket manifold. I bought one for $70.00 (which included shipping) off the Internet. This aftermarket manifold is built out of thick cast-iron and is made to resist the cracking flaw of the original manifold.
The deal with the brakes is a simple one, but it does cost more money than an average brake job. When it comes time to replace your front pads and or rotors, replace the rotors with slotted/drilled rotors and the proper pads to go with the set. You might feel like you are buying parts for a race car, but that's OK. The orignal stock pads and rotors have a tendency to overheat. This is what causes the fast breakdown of the brakes. By getting rotors with slots/drilled holes, this allows the rotors to cool faster.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 14th August, 2004