1997 Ford Aspire 4 door hatchback from North America


It's a love hate relationship, but mostly love


Last year there was a transmission fluid leak - $580 to repair. Believe it was at around 83k miles.

The check engine light turned on almost 2 years ago. I had it inspected and was told there was $900 of stuff wrong in parts alone. I said forget about it. I'll drive it til it dies. The 2nd time a mechanic told me $200 worth of parts needed. Still haven't fixed it. I think it has something to do with the EGR valve? Anyway, I've been riding with it on for all of this time, and just withing in the last 3 months have I noticed the engine is acting up - stalling when accelerating, and not wanting to reverse.

Other problem is often won't start the first time I turn the key. About 35% of time I try to start the car, I have to try up to 10 times before it starts, but it always eventually starts. I have no idea about this.

General Comments:

I've found this car temperamental, but reliable. I can't believe how long it has lasted me. If I would've taken better care of it, who knows what condition it'd be in now?...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 6th October, 2010

7th Oct 2010, 11:13

I wouldn't be surprised if it had to do with the EGR valve. Of course the mechanic wants to replace it with a new one. I fixed mine by taking it out, scratching the carbon out of the passages, moving the valve a few times. Then I put it back in with a new gasket. I also cleaned the portholes in the intake manifold and the throttle body. Finally, I pulled off the vacuum tube to the EGR boost sensor and scraped the carbon out of the nipple at the manifold with a wire.

Disconnect the battery and step on the brake to clear the computer codes.

It cost less than $20 with my Mazda Protege. You are aware that the Aspire is the Protege's little brother?

10th Oct 2010, 05:41

The Aspire was made by Kia. The Mazda Protege was made by, uh, Mazda. What's this "little brother" reference supposed to mean here?

11th Oct 2010, 16:15

Oops. The Festiva = Mazda 121, my bad.

5th Oct 2011, 11:18

The Aspire's body was made by Kia, the drive train is completely Mazda.

1997 Ford Aspire from North America


Generally efficient and reliable, but expensive when repairs are needed


Wheel bearings are ALWAYS going out, and the road noise is deafening. I have to replace the wheel bearings every year or so. Mechanic said it could be a design flaw in the car itself.

Worm gear (steering) went out 6 months after purchase in 1998.

Manual transmission went out a year after purchase. Had to rebuild entire transmission.

Not the fault of the manufacturer, but bad gas ruined all fuel injectors in 2007. Replacement injectors were almost impossible to find, and the cost of the injectors were double the value of the car. The only reason I repaired it is because the gas company's insurance company footed the bill.

General Comments:

63 hp motor makes acceleration asthmatic at best, but you can't beat the gas mileage anywhere. I've consistently got around 33 mpg city, and 38 on the highway.

The motor has been great! Generally, this has been a reliable car. Everything else but the motor is what breaks. And parts are so expensive. It's not worth keeping a car where the parts are so hard to find and insanely expensive.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th July, 2009

22nd Jul 2009, 12:53

If you think acceleration is asthmatic with the 5 speed, stay away from the 3 speed auto! I had a 94 automatic Aspire for a while, 0 to 60 had to be 17 seconds or more, and 80 mph was all the little thing could manage to do on flat ground. Road noise was high, didn't handle too good, ride was harsh and most parts were ungodly expensive, but on the plus side, fuel mileage was quite good and maneuverability was great. Sliding into a tight parking space was a breeze. I actually would buy another one, if a decent one could be found now.