With proper servicing the engine responds very well, able to pull away from the 1-2000rpm range with no problems for pottering about town. The 100 horse power from the 1.4i K series engine also shows nicely if you let the revs venture up over 4000.
The car is good for motorway cruising, holding 70mph at 3500rpm. Overtaking is good, from 60mph up it'll pull nicely in 5th, but from 40 or 50mph you'll need to drop to fourth for any real go.
Fuel economy is excellent. It returns 35-40mpg easily, and unless my measurements have been completely off I've had up to 50mpg on straight 100 mile runs down country roads at a steady 50mph.
Increasing engine revs while braking causes the brake pedal to move as more servo assist comes on. Not major issue, but disconcerting at first!
Clutch is quite heavy in use.
The gate on the gear stick isn't brilliant, getting from 2nd to 3rd at speed needs some practice..
Reverse can be difficult to select, often needs a quick flick of the clutch in neutral to spin the gearbox into a more favourable position..
Power steering is very light, perhaps too light - the steering often feels dead when you want to know what the front wheels are doing (but then, without PS these cars have *very* heaving steering!).
Cramped legroom in the rear, but huge boot space, especially with the seats down - plenty of room for a washing machine or a pair of DEC MicroVaxes! Comparable to a hatchback Sierra.
Bodywork is very good, surprisingly little corrosion, there's some surface rust on the driver's side sill and along the top of the windscreen, but other than that the only other visible rust is where previous owners have scratch the rear arches. That said, I've seen some comparable '93-94 214s about with badly rusted front wings.
Thus far this car has cost me about £400 to run for more than 10,000 miles. This includes the original purchase price! The Mk2 214 is very cheap to buy and run if nothing major goes (like the common gearbox bearing problems, so listen for whiny gearboxes when you test drive).