This car excels at what it was designed for - providing cheap reliable transportation
I had to replace a most of the cooling system components, namely: radiator, water pump, thermostat, radiator fan, radiator fan thermo-switch.
Had to replace almost all of the exhaust including the catalytic converter due to rust.
Had a brake line replaced due to corrosion.
Had to replace the brake pads and rear drums, front disks are going to bee soon due for replacement.
The rest is mostly routine maintenance.
Apart from the repairs listed, the car has been extremely cheap to run and reliable. Most of the damage to the cooling system was due to neglect from previous owner. I did the cooling system repairs myself and was astounded at the condition of the coolant - it was rust brown in colour, I guess the previous owner (s) never bothered to add antifreeze, just added water. No wonder the water pump was shot and radiator leaky. The car was bought in winter and the fact that the water pump was shot became apparent only in spring when car started badly overheating. There was a loud rattling noise coming from the right side of the engine. Turned out the pump rotor came off the shaft. While replacing the water pump (rebuilt one from Wal-Mart was around $70CAD) I also replaced the timing belt - another $60-something. Well, that illustrates how easy and cheap it is to do repair on this car.
The amazing part is, that despite being driven for awhile with a dead water pump and overheating, the engine survived the ordeal fine, it still gives me about 7-7.5 liters per 100 km in mixed driving cycle, with about 70% city, 30% highway driving.
On the negative side, it is hard to find parts for this car at the junk yard, since not too many had been sold in North America. I was, able to find the radiator for it, though, paid something $60 or $70 for it.
So far this car got me stranded only two times after sitting in the parking lot for a day in heavy snowfall. The starter would crank the engine fine, but it won't fire. The next day after sun comes up and car sits in the sun for a few hours it would start from the first try, as usual. I haven't found the cause of that yet.
I find it hard to part with this car, as it's paid for, cheap to run, would wait patiently for repairs while providing reliable service and looks kinda like a little rally car with its little aluminum wheels and rear spoiler. Another great thing about it - small size, easy to manoeuvre in city, easy to park, the little 1.3 liter engine coupled with manual tranny is more than adequate in city driving. The short front and rear overhangs together with decent clearance give it pothole hoppablility of a small SUV. With balanced wheels the car goes all the way up to the maximum speed of 140km/h on the highway, while the cruising speed of 120km/h is quite bearable. On the other hand its not very comfortable, somewhat noisy, has a crappy stereo and nowhere to put a better one, however nonsensical that might be.
Overall I am pleased with my little Festiva. I would buy a brand new one in a snap, especially if it had a bit more creature comforts. Highly Recommended.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 4th September, 2006