1992 Fiat Elba CSL 1.6 carburettor from Uruguay
Great car at a low budget, even at 11 years old, especially for families
The car began to consume oil quite early in its life, around 30.000 km, which resulted in a ring job at around 60.000 km.
Carburettor clogged due to dealer's mishandling at 45.000 km, successfully repaired.
Clutch worn out at 70.000 km.
Starter's spring loaded switch loosened at 60.000 km
Driver's side engine mount replaced at 70.000 km.
Very reliable car, at least with the light duty it sees with me (70.000 km in 11 years).
Very comfortable car, great seats, upholstery fit for long trips with children, easily cleaned, best I've ever seen that's not supposed to be top - quality.
Very heavy steering, power assisted steering was not available back then, and I haven't been able to buy a retrofit from a newer car.
Consumes too much fuel, short distance city driving will not yield more than 7 or 8 km/liter (around 18 mpg), and highway driving is at best 11 km/liter.
Cavernous loading space, really big indeed, my brothers borrow the car for hauling needs, the 4 doors open at very wide angle, loading floor is at very floor of the car, great space for a small station wagon.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 5th December, 2003
I am the original poster. The car has been driven 19.000 further kilometers, for a total of 89.000. The following problems have appeared:
Rust in doors, not too much, expected in a 14-year-old car
Lights, directionals, wiper/washer switches, all attached to a central ring below the steering wheel, had to be changed because of a short-circuit due to wearing out.
Drivers' side power window broke down, was repaired at a very low cost. Didn't need a new lifting motor.
Remote control cable for trunk opening unhooked. I decided not to fix it, so as not to disassemble the car's interior.
Fuel gauge is not working well. When tank's full, it shows one half. Didn't fix it, requires taking out rear seat, carpet, sound deadener, all 14-year-old, never removed from the car. I'd better keep it factory original, even if it does not work. I have already passed the time when I could trade it in, so I'll probably keep it for as long as it runs reliably and securely. After the carburettor problem was solved, never had reliability problems, always starts, cold or hot.
I am the original poster, again reporting after two more years. I have driven the car 13.000 further kilometers, for a current grand total of 102.000. The car is still reliable. I have had to change two clutches, one due to fast wear (about 30.000 km) and another one due to oil dripping internally from a small gasket, causing the clutch to slip. Replaced the gasket and the whole clutch assembly. All 4 doors have some rust in the lower sills. Driver's side rocker panel has a very small rust through hole. Will need a new engine mount shortly, as there is a clacking noise. There is a general loosening of bits and ends in the body, though all 4 doors, engine bonnet, and rear hatch close perfectly well. Rear hatch sock absorber is unattached to the D pillar, probably needs some very minor work. Though expected to keep it until the end of its service life, I don't think it's wise to do so, as insurance and taxes are high here in Uruguay, and I'd rather have a bigger car with A/C, A/T and P/S, none of which my tiny wagon has.
If you need a reliable and inexpensive ride and can get a solid one, these Fiats are long lasting if they were built and assembled in Brazil. Those assembled in South America outside Brazil (Argentina, Uruguay) have rotted much sooner.