When I purchased the car it required new tyres (£50 each approx) and battery (£65.00).
After 3 weeks of ownership it passed the MOT with no additional work.
Had a Gold service at a Fiat dealer for just under £200 and queried a warning light for the ignition. This was most likely to be the glow plugs. The 5 glow plugs cost £45 and I fitted them myself, a little bit fiddly, but straightforward.
The clutch started to slip and was replaced. I obtained a new clutch kit for £125 and had the Fiat dealer fit it for just over £600. This is a very complex job, as part of the front near side suspension has to be removed for access. Fiat lists this as an 8½ hour job. The local clutch place still wanted over £600 and using a refurbished clutch.
The second service I had done by a local independent garage as the Fiat dealer had closed. This cost £135.00 including an MOT. They reported that the disks and pads would need replacing shortly.
The only other problem I have had has been an injection problem. As soon as I bought the car I used an injector cleaner. During the first year I have used branded and supermarket diesel. Another dose of injection cleaner soon solved this problem.
A little niggle I had was with the remote key being too easy to get caught and unlocking the car. To resolve this I removed the battery from the key fob and now only lock/unlock using a key in the door for the central locking. To restore the remote locking will mean the key will have to be reprogrammed.
The alarm system is also too sensitive and you cannot leave the car with a window ajar or on a windy day. Solution was to turn the alarm off.
The car is very stylish to look at and has a very solid feel.
The steering is very light, possibly too light at high speeds. The gear change is very light and feels like a direct box, even though it is a cable linkage. It drives and handles like a fast sports car. Having ABS brakes is useful safety provision.
The engine develops a large amount of power and accelerates fast. In usual driving it does about 38mpg, so for it’s size is reasonably economic.
The cabin is comfortable with plenty of legroom for rear passengers. The car is well equipped with many luxury touches like electric sunroof, windows, mirrors, and height adjustable headlights. Later models were fitted with air conditioning as standard.
The Weekend estate version is very practical. When the rear seats are folded down (no need to remove head restraints) there is a 6 feet long load area. The drop down bumper means you normally have a sill, but once lowered items like a door can be carried with the boot lid down. There are also 4 lash down points.
The roof rails are a useful addition if you want to carry sheets of plywood or plasterboard.
The insurance is for this model is Group 17. In 2005 it cost just under £300 with Elephant Insurance for fully comprehensive, but with a 70% protected No Claims Discount.
The big word of warning is do not buy one of these cars unless you have the red key. If you have an engine management problem, the red key is essential for the diagnostics. Not having the red key will mean a new Electronic Control Unit and new door locks and keys – about £1,200.
Overall I love driving this car and intend to keep it for a number of years.