The exhaust on the car easily rots out. It currently needs to be replaced.
These cars are rust buckets. I have, and continue to battle the rust with a dremel and automotive primer + paint; but it is a loosing battle.
The brakes on Geo's are scary. They are OK once you put new ones on, but if you do a lot of city driving, say bye-bye to the old one and hello to new brakes again; in about 20,000 kms.
I live in Toronto, Canada, so it gets cold in the winter sometimes. This car takes a long-long time to warm up. I'll be driving about 10 minutes, and the car still hasn't reached operating temperature. The heating inside also take a while to get warm too.
I bought this car strictly for one reason: to save on gas. Boy oh boy, does it ever do that. On the highway, I will get 60 + mpg, and 50+ mpg in the city. I commute to work and this thing saves me sooo much money. 110km a day, for 5 days a week is $25 CAD at the pump/week. Not too bad. You would only get better mpg if you went to a hybrid; but even then you would only get a marginally higher mpg.
Another thing that is great about this car is the insurance. I pay $70 CAD a month for insurance. Really good.
I've no major problems with this car: since purchasing back in Feb. 2005. But some problems are starting to arise; the exhaust, brakes, + and an engine hesitation problem.
The car shifts nicely (manual) and it handles quite well. Awesome to park, will fit in the smallest of parking spots. It also has a very tight turning radius.
The interior is alright, nothing really special about it. The rear seat folds down, and allow me to carry my hockey equipment to the rink with ease; and I'm a goalie so I have a bigger hockey bag.
Very reliable car, starts up every time. I think as long as you maintain the oil changes regularly, the engine could go for a long time.
My only complaint is the rust on these cars. They were built to last about 5-6 years and after that, they fall apart.