Affordable, economical runabout
Engine failed at 135000 km. Due to poor maintenance by previous owner, the bolt securing the main pulley to the crankshaft came loose. This created vibration that caused a stress fracture in the crankshaft. It was cheaper to replace the engine with a second hand model than to fix the crankshaft.
Transmission failed at 136000 km. Previous owners used the wrong oil in the CVT, and it failed as a result.
Apart from the two (major) problems mentioned above, it has been a brilliant little car. Both the engine and transmission were replaced with second hand parts, and roughly 30 000 km later I haven't had any other problems. Based on my initial experience, I would give this car a 3 out of 10 for reliability. Based on my experience since then, I would happily give it a 9. Overall, I rate it a 6.
It's extremely cheap to run. I do 99% of my driving around town and average between 13 and 14 km per litre. Adding in some highway driving easily pushes it out to 17 km per litre. (this model has the D15B, three stage VTEC, with lean-burn mode). The great thing about this car is that it has heaps of power for a 1.5 litre (once you get above 4500 RPM).
I consider maintenance costs part of the running costs, and the cost of the above-mentioned repairs have pushed them up. Without those costs, I would rate it a 10. Considering them, I rate it a 6.
It handles well, and isn't bad around corners - considering that it isn't meant to be a performance sedan. It doesn't feel heavy, and its brakes work well. For its class (affordable Japanese runabout sedans), I think it performs very well and I personally prefer it to the other, similar cars I looked at before buying it. It may not feel as solid as a Corolla or Pulsar, but it inspires more confidence in the corners.
Comfort levels are good overall. Road noise can be high at speed, but that may be a consequence of the tires I have fitted (they were fitted new when I bought the car, and I haven't needed to replace them since).
Overall, I'm very happy with this car and (given a better service history than mine had) wouldn't hesitate to buy another.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 13th July, 2013