Yeah I agree you shouldn't buy or own a tempo/topaz even if you got it for free. They are all ugly, cheaply made cars that aren't "built to last". My friend had an 89 Topaz with 39,000 miles that his Uncle gave to him for FREE, and it was a complete joke. Burned out 3 alternators within 4 months, leaked coolant everywhere (never could find the leak), leaked power steering fluid after pump was changed due to same problem, 3 out of 4 power windows did not work, had to let engine warm up for 10 minutes before driving otherwise the car would break down, and it would randomly stall out while idling.
We worked together and I would walk home instead of getting a ride from him (I drove, but lived very close to my job). I ended up selling my 86 S10 Blazer to him and he has never been happier ever since then.
Just a bit of friendly general advice:
It all depends on how someone treated their car for the mileage they state/years they owned it.
A car could have approx. 40,000 miles and be almost worthless because the owner ran it into the ground and didn't take car of it; or it could be in wonderful condition because the owner meticulously cared for it, gave it tune-ups, replaced parts that needed to be replaced, and fixed problems when they were small instead of ignoring them and waiting till they become big problems.
This also applies to old cars (say, a 1975 Lincoln Continental with 50,000 orig. miles). Either it was used for a few years then put in a garage and had been sitting for two decades, or the owner only drove it to Church on Sundays or something, but still took care of it.
It's wise to be skeptical of low mileage (especially ridiculously low mileage, like 8,000 miles on a 1994 Cavalier). Or multiple owners of the same car in a short period of time (say, 3 owners in 6 years).
In response to the first comment, I will clarify my position. What I meant to say is that the 3 speed automatic transmission really robs the engine of its power, is all too quick to upshift, and quite reluctant to downshift. Anyone who has had to merge on to a freeway probably knows what I am talking about. I've driven Topazes with a 5 speed manual, and they are a little faster since the the engine's power is spread over five gears instead of three.
As for the cars that are cheaper to own than this one, look to just about ANY car of similar size and around the same age made in Asia!
I am the original reviewer. I should not have said all Asian cars! I am not familiar with the reliability of Korean cars, but I suspect they may have not been as reliable as Japanese cars of the era!
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