2000 Pontiac Firefly 4-door 1.3 from North America
Fast, cheap, well-built commuter warrior, but watch out for rust
It's on its third exhaust system (cat-back). Unusual for a highway-driven car.
The seat upholstery is starting to wear and stitching is coming loose. Not a big problem, but noticeable.
Like all Suzukis, it's rust-prone and regular wash-wax is a necessity.
Another Suzuki trait - the door locks are wearing out. Driver's door lock will need replacing soon.
The plastic wheel covers suck big time... all the fake chrome was gone after...umm...100,000km...;-)
A cheap, tough little commuter warrior in the Suzuki tradition.
Good points? With the 5-speed it's extremely quick and surprisingly comfortable at freeway speeds.
Engine, clutch, steering, shifter all feel like new after 150,000km.
The interior is well-made and rattle-free.
Controls are of superior quality and the instrument panel looks like it's out of a BMW.
Fuel economy is astounding -- about 40mpg. You'll wonder if the fuel gauge is stuck!
Like all Suzukis, the sheet metal is thin and rust-prone. Keep it washed and waxed, especially if you are in The Salt Zone.
In my experience with Suzukis, this car will easily hit the 300,000km mark with only routine maintenance. This is pretty phenomenal for a CDN$10,000 car.
Its Achilles heel is rust. Who knows how far a rust-free Firefly would go... maybe forever.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 31st March, 2005
Update to my review.
Just clicked 195,000 km. Right hand CV joint failed at 192,000 and was replaced. Crummy Japanese windshield (they make incredible steel, why can't they make glass?) cracked. Other than that, nothing to report.
On track to match my Swift 1.6, which went 362,000 km before seizing up from Canadian road salt. Swift's tranny went at 218,000 (4th gear gave up, clutch still good) so we'll see if Firefly's does the same. I'll bet not.
Still getting 40 mpg. These little buggies are insanely great. You won't travel cheaper on a Greyhound.
I have one - Model Year 2000, just hit 118,000KM.
Have found rust along wheel-wells, bottom of door posts, due to Symtech protection failing.
Serpentine belt has been problematic, with excessive noise, but nothing a bit of tightening can't fix every few months.
Door locks have all, but failed, but of course, it happens outside of warranty period.
Not sure what mpg for the vehicle is, but I average about 400KMs per 3/4 tank before a fill-up, with about 60-70% city driving on average.
Surprisingly few problems, with the exception of A/C, which utterly failed, for such a "beater" car that was about $12K when I bought it.
Here's an update to the original review.
The rear sway bar started clunking at 230,000km and was replaced by the dealer. I'm waiting for the other CV joint to expire, but it's still going strong.
Other than that, there's nothing to report. The serpentine belt (mentioned by another reviewer) is fine. Rust is progressing slowly.
What is amazing is that the junk that drives you nuts and keeps Mr. Goodwrench in business (broken window winders, heater switches, rear defrosters and such) just isn't happening.
If I got this kind of service out of a $60 grand Mercedes I would be ecstatic -- this a $10,000 econobox. 'Nuff said, eh?