I feel like I'm in a race car when I'm behind the wheel!
I have problems faulting the car itself for these problems, and instead place most of the blame on the previous owners. I bought this car used in a private sale for $2000, and the exterior and interior were in decent shape. The only complaint I had was that the gas consumption was absolutely ridiculous at approximately 7 km/L, and that was mostly highway!
Two weeks after purchasing the car, the check engine light came on. After scanning the computer, my mechanic got a code for the secondary air pump. But he also said that this vehicle hadn't had a tune up in years, which would explain the heavy gas consumption. After a tune-up and oil change, and a couple of fuel injections I put in myself, the car had exceptionally better gas mileage. A round trip from Newmarket to Niagara Falls, and the driving in between, only cost me $47, which was better than the Kia Rio rental I had before for the trip.
Alas, the engine light came on after a few weeks; again it was the air pump code. After taking the part out and testing it, it didn't work. With labour, replacement was $140. The muffler also was going at the time, so I replaced that at the same time, bringing the grand total of that whole repair to $350.
Then about a month later, light came back on for the secondary air pump again. By this time I was beyond frustrated with the car. After testing the air pump, there were no problems. The problem was with the relay between the air pump and the car, stemming back to the main CPU. Another $400.
In between the 'check engine' conundrum, my rear passenger tire blew out on the highway. The previous owners did not replace the tires when they needed to, since the tread was laughable. I was hoping for the set to last me until I had to put snows on. Another $250 for a set.
Front passenger rotor also went shortly after, and you need to replace both, not just one. Another $200.
Then, the engine light came back on. This time for 'emission' issues related to an oxygen sensor. The shop must have felt really sorry for us since they spent a long time on the car just trying to get a diagnosis (almost a whole day just diagnosing). The good news was that it wasn't an oxygen sensor. The bad news was that it was something more expensive (not even a surprise at this point!); an engine cylinder diaphragm. He also said the gas cap needed replacing, so I got an OEM AC Delco one to be on the safe side. $500.
On the bright side, this has been the last issue I've had with the car so far. My mechanic even said all of the engine issues can stem back to the fact that the secondary air pump needed to be replaced for a long time, and was instead neglected.
As I said before, the previous owners neglected basic care, which I think led to the mechanical issues I had. At the time, the only indication I had was that there were dog scratches on the exterior paint and a paint stain on one of the leather seats in the car. This car is a Final 500 edition, so you figure they would have taken some care to keep it looking somewhat nice.
I absolutely love this car, even with all of the money I had to put into it within the first few months I owned it. Even with the mechanical issues, the car has never once broken down on me, unless you want to count the blown tire.
Since resolving the fiasco involving the engine light, I've just had to pay for oil changes, tune-ups and snow tires, something all car owners have to do.
It is easily the most comfortable car I've ever driven, and the heated seats are an asset for cold Canadian winters. Leg room and ceiling room could be improved for taller passengers.
The car is very fast, has tons of pickup and handles like a new car, which is surprising for its age. Its tight steering has already saved my life when driving on the highway during a bad winter storm. You will not have trouble passing anyone on the road with this engine either; again, surprising given the age. This engine costs a lot in repairs due to its rarity (I believe it's also only on select models of the Aurora), but it is impressive when you're actually out driving it.
The car looks attractive and sharp with the W-body, and even more so with the Final 500 add-ons. Overall, a fantastic car if you have the patience to work out its kinks.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 8th January, 2014