The lady wanted $800. Styling aside, the car looked new from a distance of ten feet; and the oil on the dipstick ran like fine maple syrup. The engine apparently still had very good compression, and the automatic transmission very good linkage -- because the car positively leaped when my foot brushed the gas pedal (obviously my last car, a '90 Mercury Sable, was a "bog" in comparison). "Passing acceleration" (i.e., 60mph>80mph) was surprisingly brisk. The car slowed noticeably when I took my foot off the gas, another indication of good transmission linkage and engine compression (this deacceleration was noticeable compared to shifting in neutral while at-speed, wherein the car would just glide).
It ran straight and true with my hands off the wheel.
Needless to say, I bought the thing.
Performance was more nimble that I expected for a mid-sized, 4dr box; while certainly not a sports car, I found it more than adequate to the task of darting back and forth in city traffic. -- In many ways, I'm finding it's an excellent car for city-driving in situations where one's speed changes constantly and driving a stick would be a gargantuan pain in the ass.
Better than expected turning radius.
Plenty of stick-your-arm-all-the-way-down room in the engine compartment, so do-it-yourself fiddling isn't annoying. (I haven't had to fiddle yet.)
Exterior-wise, mine is that perfect light-blue color that manages to look marginally clean while actually being filthy. I can tell that it's one of those vehicles where the primer and paint aren't very thick, and the least scratch going all the way through will commence rusting quick -- so I'll have to deal with those door bottoms, and probably buff and wax the rest of it before next winter.
Interior of my model has crush-velour seats, but is otherwise no-frills (crank windows, etc). I'm 6'3" tall, and manage to cram into this car by shoving the seat all the way back and reclining it considerably. When so oriented, I'm more comfortable and kinda feel like I'm closer to the pavement and slouched in the bucket-seats of a sports car.
The car has a seemingly solid bumper; it's obviously not a fire-hydrant-killer like that of an 80's land-yacht, but it's much better than those of late 90's cars (many of which have no bumpers at all).
Model came with driver's side airbag.
The seat-beats all worked, nothing was torn, and the dash wasn't cracked despite the faded paint indicating the car sat in the sun a lot.
Gas-mileage is in the high-20s; my driving style is fairly aggressive (but not "floor it!") when accelerating, and topping off at about 70.
* The stock radio buttons are too small for eyes-off groping. Otherwise, the knobs are the big, round, manual suckers that I like -- none of that electronic seek-and-find garbage.
* It's impossible to comfortable rest your arm on the window-sill when the glass is rolled down -- the door-lock button jabs you in the "funny-bone".
I do like to cruise with my arm on the window-sill in summer, and so am looking around for another car with longer doors (probably a coupe, but not necessarily) ; so far, however, I haven't found anything for sale in the local metro-city area in the same price-range that's in remotely good of shape. Regardless of what I buy, the Acclaim will be a keeper as a secondary.