1998 Kia Mentor II slx 1.5 from Australia and New Zealand
Bloody cheap to run
Slave cylinder leaks which the ford dealer refused to acknowledge. Brake shudder was really bad.
This car handled really well at 40000km, especially doing 120km/h around corners on the way to work. I took the car to a volvo garage for service and they replaced the brake pads at 60000km after which the brake shudder stopped. The volvo mechanic told me the leaking slave cylinder wasn't much trouble as you only need to top it up every few months, this proved to be correct and I've driven the car for 4 years like this without trouble. Although the engine is only a 1.5L with 65kw I found the performance is OK with 98 octane, infact it cruises great on it. I had the cam belt changed at 80000km as per scheduled service so have never had an engine failure, checked the plugs after 80000km travel on them and they were like new... must be the petrol I use. The battery lasted almost 7 years and 138000km so reliability is about as good as you can get. I used to own a volvo and was always in the garage, but with this car I haven't had a break down in 4 years of ownership. I added roil metal conditioner to the gear box oil and the gears have never given trouble... still on the original clutch too.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 5th February, 2006
I'm from Australia and am currently looking to buy my first car, but only have around $4,000. Which means I either have to buy something very very old, or something Korean. I don't mind the Kia Mentor from 1997 (called Sephia in other markets) and was wondering if anyone could offer any advice on this car, or other cars I should be looking for. I know very little on this topic, and my parents are not willing to help me look for a car. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Korean cars are OK, but you have to take care of them regularly, because they can develop faults quickly. Old Japanese iron can develop faults quickly, too, but are much less likely to than Korean cars. Old Aussie cars should keep going strong, with faults developing slowly over time. In my opinion, that last combination is the best for a first car, and the Korean, German, Italian, Japanese, French, Swedish, etc. cars should be left until you're comfortable fixing the car. If you already are, then go for one of those.