Good value, but rough around the edges
Nothing Major, but many small, annoying things that are hard to pinpoint. All of them just add up to mar the overall appeal of the car. I should mention that all these have been present since new, and aren't a result of abuse or wear.
- Vibrations at ~50mph+ despite having had the wheels balanced.
- Dash creaks when I go around a sharp corner
- Drivers door mirror 'jiggles' so image isn't clear
- clunking sound from the rear under hard braking from low speed
- clunking sound from the front sometimes when shifting.
This car does have very sharp handling, the steering response is incredibly precise, the suspension isn't bad though a little soft, and the brakes are very good.
The engine isn't particularly impressive, and the odd gear ratios cause the car to never feel like it's happy to be driven with enthusiasm. Second gear, for example, is tall and the car feels disappointingly gutless until around 3500rpm, but shortly after that, you feel like you should shift because the engine doesn't sound or feel smooth at higher revs.
I certainly had expected this car to feel quicker considering it's a small sedan with a 2.3 liter engine. I can honestly say it feels very similar in terms of power to some 1.6 liter cars I've driven, with ~30-40 less horsepower. That brings me to another point, 160 horsepower from a 2.3 liter engine isn't particularly impressive, compared to what other Japanese automakers are achieving. The MPG is quite poor too, I've averaged 22mpg combined since getting the car. If it had better performance, this wouldn't be an issue, but since it feels slow and uses a lot of gas (comparatively), it's again disappointing.
The car's exterior looks pretty sharp, the 2006 model's factory alloy wheels are among the nicest looking factory alloys I've seen on any car, and the factory side sills complete the look nicely.
One low point about the exterior is the paint, it's very prone to scratching and chipping, although the same can be said about many new cars which now have to use the new paints for environmental reasons.
The interior is surprisingly good at first glance for a car in this price range, the seats are manually adjustable and comfortable, and most of the controls are well laid out. There's masses of headroom, I expect almost any height driver could get comfortable in this car.
I have only two complaints about the interior, firstly the textured plastic used for much of it can be easily, and permanently scratched with a fingernail, quickly marring it's appearance. Second, the backlit gauges are very hard to read while wearing sunglasses, and the LCD information panel is impossible to read with them on.
The ride isn't particularly great, it's noisy on all, but the smoothest of road surfaces, and the car is affected quite badly by crosswinds. It's comfortable enough however, and I think it could take longer journeys in stride quite happily.
Overall I'm sad to say that I've grown disappointed with this car, it's simply not as good as I'd hoped in the areas which are important to me, while surpassing my needs in areas I don't care so much about. If performance isn't among your top priorities, and a rattle, squeak, or vibration here and there aren't things that will bug you, I'd highly recommend this car. If you're seeking near perfection in terms of build quality (as some might say is justified with a brand new car), I don't feel this car quite has it.
I wasn't expecting outstanding quality, but for a new car it had more minor issues than I would have hoped.
It really all depends on your needs, and your standards/expectations.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 27th March, 2007