1995 Ford Aspire Base 1.3 from North America

Summary:

Frugal reliable basic transportation; nothing more, nothing less

Faults:

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.

General Comments:

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

1995 Ford Aspire 2 door aspire 1.3 from North America

Summary:

Great little car and excellent gas saver

Faults:

Nothing major has really gone wrong with this car, the clutch did go out, but only because the car was given to my mother-in-law for a few years and she was a terrible driver and gear shifter, she ruined it. The car was poorly maintained, but we now have it back and we trying to get it back into good working order. The engine still starts right away although it tends to idle very low and almost wants to stall. otherwise, it is a great little car.

General Comments:

Most owner don't realize that this little car was built in S. Korea by the Kia Corp. it states that right on the door panel.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th August, 2006

21st Aug 2006, 16:31

Actually most people do know that the Aspire (like its predecessor the Festiva) was built in S Korea by KIA.

19th Jan 2007, 03:30

The Aspire I had was a good reliable car, but you could dent it with your finger.. it seemes like tiny pebbles could fly up from the road and knock small dents into the thing. I thought that maybe it was the body that was made by Kia..

19th Jan 2007, 10:27

Festiva was the same way. Doors would shake at 60 mph from the cheap metal. But it was incredibly reliable thanks to its Mazda engine.