Fun little econobox that's cheap to keep
Had A/C, but it was essentially useless. It blew nice and cold, but robbed so much power from the engine that it was hard to keep from stalling when starting off from a stoplight with the air on. It also bogged the car down something fierce when on the highway. I eventually took out the A/C system to save some weight (about 30lbs), and get better airflow to the radiator. Plus, it made engine work a lot easier to get done.
Rear wheel bearings were shot shortly after getting the car.
Radiator blew twice.
Front struts needed replacement at about 80000.
Front brakes (pads and rotors) at about the same time.
Rear brakes (shoes and drums) around 70k.
Exhaust rotted out at resonator around 65K.
Temp sensor for computer was bad, tried to replace, but the sensor broke off in the manifold, so I took out the "Check Engine" light instead, and just dealt with the occasional hard start.
Replaced thermostat around 65K, shortly after the first radiator.
Rear brake hose blew out around 65K, replaced both hoses but had to get towed. The car has a dual circuit master cylinder, but a single reservoir, which means you lose all your fluid if one system (front or rear) blows out. Stupid oversight on Geo's part (to save money, no doubt).
Both front axles replaced around 80K.
Broke the hatch window (my fault), and found out that no one makes the glass for it, so had to drive three hours to get one off a car that someone was parting out. Still cheaper than buying glass, and having to pay someone to replace it.
Basic items like spark plugs, ignition wires, filters, etc all changed at regular intervals with good results.
This was a great little car for the six years I had it. It's slow on the highway, but peppy around town, and handles reasonably well for such a tiny car. Despite it being hard to keep up with traffic, it's one fun little car to drive.
The parts seem to hold up fairly well, since it is a light car, and therefore there is little wear put on the various components. That said, these are cheap "throw away" cars, and at nearly 100k and 16 yrs old, my little Geo had easily outlived its life expectancy by at least two or three times. Parts are relatively cheap, and everything is pretty simple and easy to fix, with the exception of the front brake disks, which require you to press out the wheel bearings and re-press them back into the knuckles to get the disks changed out. This is a totally unnecessary design IMO, since nearly every other car has slide on rotors that can be changed in about 15 minutes, not hours.
In 6 years, I only had one set of tires on the car, which were $30 junkyard specials, and still had life on them when I sold it. Being so light means you don't wear down tires. It also means it doesn't get stuck in the snow very often.
The interior is cheap and uncomfortable, and a little cramped with two people, let alone 4 if you're carrying passengers in the back. There's a surprising amount of cargo space though, which is nice for such a small car. The mileage is hard to beat at a steady 47 to 51 mpg. That, combined with cheap insurance and low maintenance costs (I did pretty much all the work myself), made this the perfect car for me during college, and when I was starting work.
I eventually replaced it with my 1988 Honda CRX, which is much faster and sportier, and gets about 44mpg (except now I can do 80 on the highway instead of 60). I do miss my back seats and lots of storage room, but it sure is nice to actually PASS cars on the highway for once.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 27th December, 2010