Road legal go-kart!
The usual expendables (exhaust, tires, clutch, wiper blades).
Stereo packed up.
Head gasket went at 73,000 miles which proved costly as it had already been bodged before.
When things were going well this has got to be one of the most fun cars to drive going. Performance with acceptable insurance when I bought it. Low to the floor, it always felt very quick and had a motorised go-kart kind of feel. Handling in the twisties was awesome, but long sweeping slip roads bit you hard if you backed off the power and you were left you wondering if the back was going to over-take the front (later ones were better so I'm told), but I guess here the fault is as much with me.
I bought from a main dealer and hence had some warranty, but they weren't good at putting things right and when the head-gasket went the warranty had expired, and the dealer was adamant that the previous bodged repairs were nothing to do with them (although it later transpired that they were). The low-ish mileage, condition and full service history looked to be a sign of happy times, but it would appear that mine had had a hard time from a previous owner combined with the above bodge. I got things fixed but never felt happy with the car and sold it shortly afterwards. Hope it didn't cause the next owner problems, but I was honest enough to tell him the history.
Comfort-wise she didn't really suit me as I prefer long legged seating positions, but the bucket seats certainly kept you in place. Heavy footwear also made things interesting with the pedals so close together.
I'd definitely have another, but with a performance motor I'd be happier with a new one next time so I guess it will have to be the GTi. Also I need more space so it'll have to sit alongside a less exciting estate. I'd recommend one to anyone, but give it a very good check over.
In addition to the reliability problems the insurance was the final nail in the coffin when it doubled on renewal. Incidentally, this was despite being over 30 with 5 year's NCB and no points. I sometimes think that insurance companies are just out to stop us having fun.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 12th October, 2001