I owned a scruffy old 1986 Opel Manta for 4 years before deciding to buy a more 'modern' performance car with comfort and speed. I wanted something that was very fast, but with mod-cons. I was getting fed up of ice forming on the INSIDE of the Manta on winter mornings!!
Reviews of the GTi-6 praised the high speed 167BHP engine and chassis, claiming that the car was the leader in the 'hot hatch' market. At the time the other alternative for performance was the Renault Clio Sport (172BHP), the Seat Leon Cupra (180BHP) and the Civic Type-R, all of which were much more than the PUG.
I hated it.
BAD POINTS -
1) The interior was very poor, the cabin was falling apart around me and the material that formed the seats and door cards visibly wore during the 8 months that I owned this car.
2) The exterior body panels are paper-thin, I really mean this. When you wash the car the panels 'pop'. You have to be SOOOOO careful when opening the doors not put a ding in them.
3) When raining outside and driving, if you open the window the roof seems to channel the water directly through the window. NOT a good design.
...and embarrassing when driving with a new girlfriend in the passenger seat!
4) The car, despite having a highly regarded Chassis, has a surprising amount of body roll on corners and the car feels too light and unstable at high speed.
5) The paint is very thin, I picked up many stonechips and scratches all over the body when I owned this car. On a black finish, these really stand out and make the car look very tatty in a short time.
6) Stupidly high insurance compared to other hot hatches.
GOOD POINTS -
1) The engine has excellent performance, a very quick 0-60, quoted at 8.5 seconds, but some road tests say that is is closer to 7.5 seconds. You really can feel the accelaration push you back into your seat when you floor it.
In summary this is a great engine stuck in a very badly built car. I ignored warnings about the build quality of this vehicle because all I cared about was the permormance figures. I had the car for 8 months and lost almost £2k on it. every week I had it, it depreciated and got more tatty.
I am now hoping to buy a Honda Civic 1.8 VTi. Wonderful and reliably built car with the perfomance to match. In the meantime I am back to an old Opel Manta for my kicks. The brush with the PUG nearly knocked my faith in 'modern' cars.
Buy Japanese or German.