Starter motor failed after one week of ownership due to badly worn supply brushes. Dealer wanted £70 for a reconditioned starter, but fixed it myself for less than a fiver.
Clutch needed replacing after three weeks of ownership because it didn't disengage properly due to excessive wear, and prevented gears from shifting correctly. Cost £150.
Gear linkage corroded and seized. Fixed by adding lubrication.
Breather hoses perished. Cost £5.
On the whole, I am very pleased with this for a first car. The performance is pleasing for a 1.4, with good acceleration in the lower gears.
The handling is smooth and responsive (despite the lack of power steering), and ride is better than many larger cars. I have found the seats and driving position to very comfortable.
The interior is well finished, pleasant and appears to have stood up well to general wear and tear.
The image is a lot better than some offerings by other manufacturers of the same year, and it still looks the part ten years on.
The build quality on the whole is pretty good, although it is certainly lacking in some areas. Some engine components are of flimsy, lightweight construction, which makes reliability and issue. Most of the problems I have encountered are just down to general wear and tear, considering the car has done 75,000 miles.
The running costs are affordable, and the car will easily do around 30 miles to the gallon around town, and can be stretched to 50 on the motorways. Insurance is cheap (group 4) as is tax, although spare parts are more expensive than rival brands.
It's definitely worth paying a bit extra for one that has been looked after. Buying one that has been neglected could lead to hefty repair bills!