The original high-revving hot hatch
The sources of problems generally encountered with the 16v can be encapsulated by two facets:
1. It has a big engine in a small place. many jobs require the engine to be taken out.
2. It puts down a LOT of power for a 1.8 and the ancillary components take a beating - especially engine mounts.
Other than this, it is a well built car that will naturally vary in condition according to care of ownership.
Forget the CTR et al as pioneers of high revs...
This car was the hottest of the hot in the 1990s - and will still not be left wanting by a 172 or V6 Clio. Moreover, it is mechanically almost identical to the Williams - which gained 13bhp by boring the engine to 2.0 litres.
To drive, the dominating characteristic is its tendency to pick up after 4500 rpm. If you get one, DO NOT be afraid to rev the living daylights out of it. If you can keep it between 4500 and 7000 rpm, very little will keep up. But if you get caught below 4500 rpm you might lose to one or two cars!!
Very smooth as standard and quiet - though the engine howl at 4500-5500rpm is the best noise made by any car this side of a TVR. Lowering works really well too. Induction kits make more of the sound and whistle at 2500 rpm on this engine, but offer minimal performance benefits in hot weather/town.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 19th May, 2002