Great for what it is: a cheap transporter
At the time I bought this, it was probably the only new car I could afford (at the time it was the cheapest production car available in the US), and while Hyundai's reputation for reliability seemed a bit hit-or-miss, I decided beggars can't be choosers and took a chance on it. I have to say I've been pleasantly surprised by this car. While it is the most spartan and bare-bones automobile since the VW Bug, it has been reliable and inexpensive to run.
The "Blue" designation is basically a "heater and key" car. It didn't even come with a radio! No A/C, no traction control, anti-lock brakes, tooth brushers, ego boosters or anything else. I had a stereo installed a few days after I bought it, and put new tires on at around 25k miles, and that's about it.
Performance is okay for a little car; it isn't a rice rocket, but it zips around town nicely enough; I wouldn't want to drive one of these with an automatic transmission, though.
The seats aren't very comfortable on long trips, but overall the car is fine for day-to-day driving. I average about 320 to 360 miles per tank, so the MPG is in the 34+ range; pretty good considering my lead foot.
I live in Southern California, so the lack of A/C can be a bit uncomfortable during the summer, but I can't say I want to pay $1000 for the A/C kit (plus installation). Rolling down the windows is good enough for me (I drove this car through Death Valley in the middle of the summer as well and survived, so I guess you just have to be old-school and tough it out sometimes).
Maintenance is very basic. If I remember correctly, the plugs should be changed every 30k miles or so (an easy half-hour job) and the timing belt needs replacing every 60k, and, of course regular oil changes. The car is easy to work on and I've never bothered to take it in for anything (though I'll probably take it to a dealer for the timing belt). The warranty from Hyundai is very good, 60k bumper to bumper and 100k power train, though I have heard that the company is not always very good about honoring it -- knock on wood, I won't have to find out.
For a cheap, no-frills car, you can't ask for much more.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 8th July, 2012