1995 Ford Aspire Base 1.3 from North America
Frugal reliable basic transportation; nothing more, nothing less
Wheel bearing failed on PA Turnpike resulting in me driving the car 20 miles home on three wheels.
Rear hatch support strut rusted through.
Shifter is quite possibly the worst and sloppiest I've ever driven. Not sure if there is a worn bushing in there or something, but I hope it wasn't designed to be as bad as it clearly is.
Transmission makes terrible grinding noises in first and second gears as a result of a lousy factory rebuild at 25,000 miles. Despite the noise of the transmission seemingly about to fly apart, I've had no functional issues.
I bought this car for basic transportation on a very long commute (180 miles round trip). I was hoping the car would last for 6 months and I could throw it away for the next one.
I have been very pleasantly surprised by this little machine. With gas prices hovering around $3 a gallon, this car has paid for itself with the money I've saved in fuel costs versus driving my Geo Tracker (!). I paid $750 for this little car, and it's saved me almost $900 in gas since. I've also installed 4 tires, a water pump, timing belt, front brake pads, new rear wheel bearings and a CD player in it. It also doesn't have air conditioning, which I don't mind too much. It does have 2 front airbags, which makes me feel better about driving such a tiny auto - and this auto is TINY. The only car I've ever had that was smaller than this one was a 1990 Ford Festiva. Incidentally, the Aspire is the Festiva's replacement, upgraded with fuel injection and the afore-mentioned airbags. The Aspire also has a more modern dash layout and is better handling a more comfortable, although, in this car class, that's not saying a whole lot.
All in all, the car has been amazingly reliable. I bought it from the original owner, an engineer, who fastidiously maintained the car. It still looked and smelled new inside. The car also gets me 40-45 mpg day in and day out, dropping to maybe 38 on really cold days (temps in the teens or lower).
If you are looking for a simple and reliable car to get you around with little to no fuss and which gets almost hybrid-like gas mileage, this is the car for you. If you are looking for anything else, skip it - you'll be disappointed.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 11th July, 2007