Bought my 1997 Almera GTi for £900 & have been very impressed.
Driven sensibly the car will do around 35mpg. The car is unresponsive & uninspiring when done so.
However, upward of 4000rpm the engine starts to work & you realise how the car was built to be driven. You have to come down a gear to overtake with authority, but when you do the car flies.
Unfortunately this makes putting your foot down & invariably, speeding all too easy.
It's a car which begs to be pushed & rewards you when you do. Drop a gear or 2 & all of a sudden you're at 70mph. The ride is hard, but exciting, a real driver's car.
On the motorway the car revs high & sounds like it's working even in 5th gear. It is uncomfortable for long motorway journeys & quite noisy.
Where the car really shines is on a twisty fast road. The handling is superb, sticking to the road like glue & you can't help, but put you foot down, again, resulting in speeding. The chassis is stiff & inspires confidence when cornering, helped by front & rear strut braces as standard. The car is fitted with discs all round which provide good braking.
It does everything you could want from a hot hatch & at the fraction of the price of a Golf Gti. Superb.