Very good car for the money, with a sporty look, but without the performance
Most items already replaced when bought (brake pads, tyres, wiper blades, oil/filter, etc..).
Clutch replaced at 110000kms.
Little bits of interior trim starting to wear/tear and come loose, but only cosmetic stuff.
Checked water every 10,000kms, only had to fill up once when it got too low.
Got the 1600cc model, which went better than the 1500cc/1400cc/1300cc, still lacking in high revs, but makes up for in great fuel economy (some Japanese and European brands are better, but not at this price).
The 5speed gearbox is pretty decent, gear ratios are high for this engine size, which is good on the petrol, however performance is lot slower. Gear shifting is pretty smooth and the clutch isn't too light, just enough feedback to fool you into thinking it's sporty.
The dash has a redline of 6500rpm, but would rev cut around 6200rpm; doesn't matter because power stops at 5800rpm. Found the accelerator to be touchy, causing the car to either wheelspin or stall.
Also this car is compatible with E10, should Australian laws decide to replace 91UPL.
0-100kph is 9.6s and 1/4 mile 17.5s standard.
The newer models came with 4 wheel disk brakes, ABS and EBD as standard (along with PS/AC/dual airbags/etc..). The brakes are pretty responsive, and can stop it pretty quickly.
The standard tyres in 175/65r14 (had Maxxis brand tyre at the time) didn't inspire confidence when braking from high speeds (over 100kph), wheel spin in the rain became a problem, changing to a better quality and wider tyre has helped a lot (185/60r14 Bridgestone RE88), but otherwise very good in city/urban speeds.
Handling is pretty zippy, not too soft over bumps, holds the road pretty well, even better with the wider tyres. With the standard tyres, the car has more body roll and tends to be bouncy over speed humps. With the lower profile Japanese tyres, it seems to have lowered the body roll (not a lot, but can notice the change) and bounciness over humps. Stiffer swaybar would help the roll, but not much after market support with in Australia, yet.
Inside the car is pretty roomy, the seats sit high for easy entrance/exit and comfy for long drives (I'm 185cm and 90kgs). Not a sports seat; pull the car hard into a corner and you could find yourself on the other side of the car. Rear seats are OK, made to fit kids or "small frame" persons.
Outside the car looks alright; being the MY06 model, it had the facelift with new headlights, front and rear bumpers, comparable to the Echo/Yaris upgrade. Being a bloke, make sure you get the darkest legal tint... Would suit the lady type, but if you're on a budget, this car will do!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 3rd November, 2010