This car has a deserved reputation as being one of the best hot hatches of the 1980's.
Most of the legends about this car are true; the standard engine is in quite a high state of tune producing more bang per buck than a lot of its rivals. The handling is superb and you do get lift off over-steer. Brilliant fun to get on a four wheel drift, although obviously not on her majesty's high way ;).
The styling is sharp even today, and the interior doesn't look bad and is as comfortable as a favorite old arm chair. The bright red carpets however are not to every ones taste.
The major fly in the ointment with this car is the refinement. There are constant squeaks and rattles from the interior and the switches and dials have a cheap feel. Tick-over and low speeds are notorious for being 'lumpy'. The closer ratio gearbox on the 1.6 whilst great fun makes motorway work a bit of a chore, and has some effect on the miles per gallon.
For the price good ones are going for these days you cannot go far wrong. As with all performance cars be careful buying and make sure you get a good one, especially in this case as they not well enough built to cope with neglect or heavy abuse.