Great car, fun to drive, easy repairs
Timing chain around 130k.
Alternator around 140k.
CV axles a few times.
Driver's seat torn.
Exhaust rusted off.
Tiny bits of surface rust.
Mass air flow sensor.
I consider all of the above routine maintenance for a car of this age.
This car has never left me stranded. I bought it for $500 about 7 years ago, it had been flood damaged so a few things about the car have always bee quirky. For instance, it sometimes idles rough and has to be tuned up regularly. I think some of the sensors were damaged in the flood. However, with routine maintenance and only minor repairs, this car has actually improved over the years. It is better today by far than when I bought it.
Performance is decent for an economy car. It is geared higher than most, which means it's okay to downshift to 3rd on the freeway to go up hills. I added a 2.25" cat-back exhaust with a Cherry Bomb Turbo II (basically a truck muffler) and noticed a slight performance gain without being obnoxiously loud.
I get 33 MPG on the freeway and 30 MPG around town. The car isn't very aerodynamic, and lacks sound deadening, so long rides can be a bit fatiguing due to road noise and vibrations. However, it handles well and gets me from point A to point B every time.
I do most of the repairs myself. I love the way the engine compartment is laid out, that makes it very easy to work on. I probably spend $500 every year in parts, and if I paid for labor it would be another $500. For a car that sees over 10,000 miles each year and only cost $500 up front, I consider it to be highly reliable. I have owned other vehicles as well, but this was my first one and it's still going strong. These engines will run forever if you take care of them.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 1st May, 2010