Bought the car at 113k and it burned oil. I think they are known to have an oil sludging problem.
113k - Replaced blown front struts.
114k - Exhaust broke cleanly at flange between cat. converter and cat-back section. It was hanging there and the car was so loud your brain shook.
114k - Replaced battery.
115k - I got lazy with the oil consumption and it developed a knock. However, it kept running. I beat the tar out of it to test its limits and it never quit. I eventually bought a totaled parts car for $300 with 77k and put that motor in mine, and also replaced the clutch. Motor runs excellent and burns and leaks nothing.
117k - More exhaust leakage. The exhaust on these cars are crap, whenever I see another one on the road that one sounds like crap too, I'm really considering buying an eBay stainless steel header and going from there.
119k - Brake hose suddenly leaks on a trip across the state. Funny thing is, the car was at Belle Tire that morning...
- Pretty much all of the speakers are blown.
- 2nd gear grinds a little, but no biggy.
I know my problems list is pretty big, but this car is nothing close to what I had been used to before I bought it. I had daily driven a couple of Eagle Talon TSi AWD's for about 2 years. While fun and fast, they suck down premium gas and break more than a Cheez-it being stepped on. After doing a ton of work to make one of the Talons nice, I didn't want to drive it everyday. Initially, I had planned to look for a nice Civic or maybe a CRX, but my Girlfriend was also looking for another car. She was replacing her Geo Prizm and wanted me to fix it up a little so she could sell it. I borrowed it for a weekend, did some touch up paint and some tune up work, piled up my buddies in and used it all weekend. I fell in love with it. My friends and I were in awe at what little gas it used, and it was quite roomy and nice. When my G/F got back she offered to sell it to me for just over a grand, so I bought it. I had a little trouble with it at first, but after replacing the motor, the car has had no major problems until the brake line broke.
- I average 30-35mpg in the city, around 45mpg on long highway trips.
- Very roomy, I've had 4 adults sit comfortably in it, although the back sags pretty low.
- Plenty of trunk space.
- Even after almost 14 years, over 3 owners, and almost 120k the interior is still in excellent condition, with the exception of the infamous breaking door handles.
- Controls are all nicely within reach.
- Seats are very comfy.
- For just over 100hp, it's no speed demon, but is adequate enough to not have to worry.
- Maintenance is easy. You don't even have to lift the car to change the oil, and I can do the belts in way less than an hour.
- They all rust in the same spots, and mine is starting to get it.
- Handles like garbage on the highway. Leans a lot, and is a little shaky.
- No overdrive on 5th gear in manual. It's at 3k at 65MPH.
- The exhaust manifold cracks on all of them, just by looking at it, you can tell its just a stupid design.
- The speakers are made of cardboard, and break if you try to remove them.
- The tiny wheels and tires don't help much in the winter.
Other than that, the car is excellent and I'd recommend a Prizm/Corolla to anyone looking for a cheap Daily Driver.