I traded in my 1990 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Brougham for the Eagle Talon. It was quite a change.
I'm 6' 3" and a big guy. My Oldsmobile had all the bells and whistles, including dual 8-way power adjustable front seats. I really enjoyed the Oldsmobile, but as soon as it hit the 165,000-mile mark it started to make me go insane. The interior was great, but everything else was falling apart.
I went from old man luxury to total utilitarian. I traded my Olds for the Talon at a shady local car lot. My Talon was shiny bright red, with a nice slicked down shiny interior- the trademark of small used car lots. I bought the car and lost money on the Oldsmobile, but was happy to have a car that that looked like something my age group would drive and didn't have any of the crazy electronics that the Olds had.
Nothing as gone bad in this car. I drive the heck out of it and it still runs like a top. Before I bought my 1.8 liter Talon, I had checked out a few Eclipses and Lasers, even some AWD turbo models, but I liked the style of the Talon and decided I'd have a better chance of wrapping a turbo model around a tree or get caught commuting to school at 120 mph. The DL was a great choice and it runs great. My only complaints about the motor is that it can be heard working really hard while driving on the highway and forget driving around with the A/C on while driving around town. I retrofitted my A/C with 134a for about $35, which was a great deal, but the A/C puts such a strain on the 1.8.
A word on maintenance:
I studied the durability of these cars before I purchased mine and learned that all of them like to self-destruct if the timing belt fails. Since my Talon only had 77,000 miles on it I waited until 90,000 miles to change all the belts. I'm glad I replaced them at exactly 90,000. My dad is a Subaru technician and he has done all of the dirty work on the car, which really hasn't been all too much. He took the timing belt out and it had tears running from side to side on the belt. He said it probably had about 100 miles till it would have broke. The car still ran fine at the time and I didn't like that feeling that it could have melted down while feeling so secure. I had all of the belts replaced with Mitsubishi parts. I always believe that OEM parts are the best - right down to the Mitsu/Mopar oil filters.
The transmission is a 5-speed manual. I don't understand how it still performs so well at 139,000 miles. It is still tight and I test the clutch every 500 miles or so by abusing it on the highway. Hasn't faded yet. The main complaints with the transmission are the gear oil likes to prevent from shifting smooth in cold weather and somewhere along the line I must have fouled up a syncro for second gear, because it will grind and bang into the gear for no reason or not want to shift to second.
The exterior still looks great after 11 years with at least three years spent outside at all times. The paint looks good except on the hubcaps where it is falling off and on the spoiler and mirrors where the clear coat is flaking. There is a bit of rust that pops up around the door window frame and on the roof, but I fixed that with light sanding and 1 Shot black sign paint. The headlights have turned yellow and I recently had to replace the windshield due to a stress fracture that went clear across the window.
The interior is great except for a large burn hole in the middle of the front passenger seat and in the back seat. The seats are very comfortable. I mentioned that I had the Olds 98 with deluxe seats. They were the same as sitting on a Lazyboy recliner for long periods of time, so my butt would fall asleep on long trips and they had no lumbar support. The Talon seats provide a perfect seating position all of the time and my butt doesn't fall asleep. I also like the dead pedal for my left foot. I wear a size 16 shoe and my foot fits perfectly on it.
Gas consumption on the Talon is about the same as my previous full size Oldsmobile. I get about 31-36 mpg on the highway and 14-21 mpg in town.
All in all this is a great car. I will probably sell it when I'm done with school and start diving my 1980 Cutlass Supreme on a regular basis. I like the Talon, but I feel safer in a big RWD Oldsmobile with three point seatbelts, rather than power seatbelts with the lap belt (that I never wear).