OK, I suppose, but most of the car's reliability probably occurred before I owned it
Front outer CV joints.
Front brake pads, plus one brake cylinder.
Bought this car rather inexpensively ($1700). Seemed like a pretty good buy at the time, but in hindsight, if I could redo this purchase, I may have searched a little more before buying.
This car was the sedan version of the infamous Honda Civic. It was relatively unrusted for the year, and this model, along with its hatchback version, is still a pretty common car in milder climates. There was some rust on the rear fender area and rear hatch, but again nothing major for the age. A quick spray paint and some spraying with WD-40 or Rust Check, kept the rust from spreading for the little over 2 years that I owned the car.
The interior was a nice velour. I suppose it was pretty luxurious at the time. The back seat was still near mint, as it was not used as much. The driver's seat had a few small tears, but considering the driver's seat takes the hardest beating, that was very good for essentially 20 years of service.
One of the car's high points was its fuel economy. It was a very light car (under 1000 kg), so even in the city, I got 8 L/100 km. Even in cold weather, I never got worse than 10 L/100 km, and usually got in the 9s. Highway driving at 90-100 km/h gave me a consistent 5.5 to 6 L/100 km. In North America, for fuel efficient cars, the pickings are pretty slim: Outside of hybrids and diesels, there aren't many modern cars that can beat this. Europe and Japan have a lot more choices, though.
The car's layout was very good. It had a very low centre of gravity, so it felt very stable on the highway and in general around town driving. The interior design, was very well laid out. Honda knew what they were doing with this model. It's not surprising it was a big seller at the time. Plus, 1991 is all pre- the extra regulation crap that you see on most new cars. As a result, you have a very unweighted, light car where 92 horsepower is plenty. A new car requires at least 130 hp to accomplish the same thing because they have to pull around 1.5 X the weight!
Some weak points now: The distributor. This will stop you cold. Rrrr... but no go! I had to replace the distributor twice over a 1.5 year span. I got an aftermarket one, but it was still pretty expensive at about $300 installed. A Honda one would probably cost twice as much, but may be worth it if you plan to keep the car for more than 5 years. My mechanic even said that the distributor is a weak point for Honda and its higher end equivalent, Acura.
Another weak point: The automatic transmission. Clunk... clunk. I lost the two upper gears going up a hill. Fortunately, because of the car's plentiful nature, I could get a good used one installed for only $600. Getting a new transmission would be cost prohibitive for such an old car. Still, I wasn't a huge fan of the automatic transmission: quite clunky shifting through the gears. It also shifted somewhat hard down into first when you came to a stop. Also, going up hills, the transmission often “searched” for the best gear, so I often just shifted manually between 3rd and 4th. Even the owner's manual stated this, so it was still a problem when new. I would therefore personally recommend the manual transmission instead.
Also going up a hill (again!), I blew a valve. A huge loss of power. Fortunately, this could be fixed by installing a good used head for only $550. Solved the problem instantly. Again, this job would've been way too cost prohibitive with new parts.
Most other items were mostly just wear and tear. Had to replace the muffler ($200), front brake pads and a wheel cylinder ($200), radiator ($350) and outer CV joints (used) for $100.
One thing I noticed as well, is that when I had the transmission replaced, the odometer was unhooked. Pluck... that's it! This car was pre-electronic odometers, but because it was so easy to unplug, I imagine it would be incredibly easy to do odometer fraud on this car. And because this car had 17 years of ownership before me, who knows what the actual odometer reading may have been. I had no way of telling one way or the other.
All in all, this car was okay, but it did have some rather serious issues that would've been really expensive had I not had access to a good pool of used parts. I may have kept the car if I only drove about 3 times a week, but because I drive nearly every day, reliability is of utmost importance. The car also developed a stalling problem uphills when I sold it. Having bought another car, paying for 2 insurance policies, and not wanting to pour any money into it, I wound up selling it cheap ($400), which was really just the scrap metal value of the car. The new owner seemed to be somewhat mechanically inclined as well, so I think they got a really good deal. There are probably still a good number of years left in that car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 8th May, 2010