A true drivers car
Bought the car as a project with a heavily smoking engine (Piston rings) Had been abused. would not pass MOT emissions.
Replaced engine with a 54.000 mile example.
Whilst out I changed the Clutch, Cam belt and tensioner, auxiliary belts, several coolant pipes, and serviced engine, oil filter, spark plugs, air filter, oil etc.
Faults since then.
98.000 catalytic converter for MOT.
The car has 2 characteristics. Below 4000rpm it is quite dormant has no torque and drives like a dull particularly low performance family car. My 52 1.2 16v Clio has more torque here and hence feels nippier.
Driving the car half heartedly you will feel disappointed, having the accelerator only half way down keeping under 4k revs and you will be blown away by most family cars.
However give it some stick and it really flies. Hit 4000 rpm and it changes engine note, the power comes in like a turbo. It is a true Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
If you change up the box too early there is no torque to back you up, you have to hold 2nd till nearly 60 then 3rd.
Handling is among the best especially for this era. heavy precise communicative steering great chassis. It beat the fantastic benchmark golf gti 16v mk2 in quite a few road tests, can't say any better than that.
Brakes are up to the job, but could always be improved, especially if fitting larger alloy wheels.
The interior although 80s in style still looks good in black, and phase 2 dials are clear in white on black. The seats are very supportive wrap around and are comfortable.
The car looks great in sports blue mine being the booted 4dr version and the bonnet vent looks great.
The engine is especially impressive in sound and even better with just a free flow filter and uprated back box.
Everything that makes this car such an amazing drivers car works against it, heavy steering, heavy sharp clutch, the need for it to be thrashed. In short it can become tiresome to drive as an everyday vehicle and especially around town, like I said attempt to make progress without screaming the engine and you will be disappointed. Have now got mine as a weekend car.
The car hits 60mph in under 8 seconds and is capable of 129mph so does not hang about. Is very similar in pace to a Peugeot 106Gti having got several colleagues who own them.
In short this is a great car, but will only reward if you give it lots of stick. It will go round corners as well as you can make it, as long as you can wrestle it through it will go round very fast. You really feel as though you've made it go round, fantastic.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 19th December, 2005