Reliable, a true endurance champ
The car is dangerous to drive over 70mph. The 12 inch tires improve gas mileage, but the handling becomes very difficult. When the tires warm up it will be easier to drive, but still difficult near semi-trucks and crosswinds.
Most other vehicles will ignore you, especially trucks in rural areas. There's very little respect for the car, so fender benders are common. I've had trucks veer toward my lane when I drive the Metro, but that rarely happens when I drive my Dodge cargo van. Unfortunately driving smaller vehicles, especially in hicktown USA, is still an offense punishable by death.
Flaws from a mechanical standpoint include the following: don't activate the wipers when frozen in ice, or else a tiny plastic ball-bearing holder breaks and the entire $180 wiper assembly must be replaced.
On the standard/manual transmissions the input shaft oil seal is a design flaw which may cause clutch slipping, so check for transmission oil leaks above 100,000 miles.
The timing belt must also be checked and replaced at regular 60,000 mile intervals. A broken timing belt will mean a ruined engine, so this is vital.
An extremely reliable car. I gave it the usual tune-ups and oil changes every 2500 miles. The only time I had big trouble was when the clutch gave out, at 130,000 miles. Even after the clutch wore I could still get up to 40mph and limp places, until the clutch was fixed.
Everything lasted over 100,000 miles. The radiator wore out around 110,000 miles (I've heard spraying it regularly with baking soda will help it last longer, due to bug acids being neutralized). The brakes lasted to 112,000 miles, and the exhaust system made it to 140,000 miles. The catalytic converter almost certainly would've lasted longer, except I never replaced my oxygen sensor at regular intervals.
I own the 3-cylinder, which gives adequate power with great mileage. However, because the car is so light, the 4-cylinder manual transmission can give this car some serious zip.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 18th July, 2001