Great car, just take care of it
100,000 km: The oil filter casing cracked. The place I bought it off tightened the drain plug too tight, and cracked the plastic casing. Using plastic for the filter housing is pretty stupid. I suggest not even using the drain plug. Just drop the housing and let your hands get oily instead of messing about with the fragile drain plug.
160,000 km: Seat cushion split, and the metal frame was poking through. I took apart the seat and stitched the cushion, and used a patch method to join it again. Can't tell the difference, and feels the same.
180,000 km: Clutch pedal assembly cracked. This caused the clutch to sometimes stick, and I would pop it out with my foot.
198,000 km: One of the teeth on the clutch pressure plate broke off and cracked the transmission casing. I didn't even hear a noise. Sounded like a very minimal tumbling. I checked the wheels, thinking a branch was stuck. Then I saw and smelt gear oil, so I knew something went very bad.
The car has lots of power, and climbs hills very well. I very rarely down shift for hills, and when I do, other cars I have driven would be in 3rd gear and revving at 5500rpm on the same hill.
The car corners great. I have scared people at how fast I go into corners, and they are shocked after the corner at how controlled it was. (I'm pretty easy driver as well, the car just has lots of control).
Gas mileage is great. I live in a pretty mountainous area, and get really good mileage. I have had 6.8km per 100km with about 60 percent highway and 40 percent city. That is about 740 kms till the gas light comes on. This is with gas with no ethanol in the gas mix. I find the 15% ethanol blend causes slightly lower mileage. I think it's just enough engine for the mountains, but not too much to suck back gas.
The hatchback is great. It can fit tons of stuff! This was a selling point for me.
The car I think is a little too low. It's not extreme, but just lower I think than standard cars. The 17 inch wheels are a pet peeve as well. The cost of 17s compared to 16s is a lot more, and there's less selection. Both these things would affect cornering, but I'd opt for the loss of cornering.
The engine is great. Doesn't burn oil or overheat. I take care of it and don't beat on it, and it keeps working. Never makes odd noises or ticks. Keep up on the plugs, fluids and filters, and it should last awhile.
The transmission worked great till the casing cracked. My guess is it would have kept going for years to come.
The clutch, which was responsible for the transmission failing, worked great too. I'm pretty sure it was the original. I was never told about it being replaced. The friction plate, even at 198,000km, still had lots of life. That being said, I never dump the clutch or spin the tires. I don't downshift either to brake (only downshift to brake in emergency situations). I'd rather replace brakes than a clutch and tranny. Who knows though why the pressure plate tooth broke; could have just been fatigue.
The room is good too, lots of room to stretch out too, since I'm a bit taller.
The car is a bit loud though, could use more insulation to keep it quiet.
Handles well in snow too; if it slides, it's easy to get it back and keep it there. If the snow gets deep though, it turns into a bit of a snow plow at slow speeds, due to the low ride height. I'd say not to use the traction control from dead stops in snow, all it does is cut the engine for a split second, killing your momentum to get moving. At speed though, it keeps the car in control nicely though.
The cover underneath the engine is a pain, for oil changes. Also if you leak fluids, you will never see it on your driveway. Which is kind of a bad thing, because some might not know they are losing them. They will collect in the cover, and the first time you corner or hit the brakes hard, it will coming pouring out, and chances are you won't see it.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 26th May, 2011