Reliable basic motoring, and surprisingly enjoyable to drive too
Practically no trouble at all. I had a bit of very minor trouble with incorrectly made rotor arms (made in the UK by Lucas!) which necessitated a quick roadside repair taking all of 2 minutes.
Towards the end, had a bit of trouble with windscreen wash pumps - one failed, the other leaked a bit.
The wheels tended to suffer rim leaks so I took to carrying a footpump.
On what was to be the car's last substantial journey the fuel pump failed (I think - didn't bother fixing it), leading to an ignominious tow home.
When I got the car I gave it a really thorough service - fixed the corroded front brakes, replaced all four shocks with good quality (KYB and Monroe) units, did all the usual service items - and after that did pretty minimal maintenance. I put good quality tyres on it (175/60 front, 165/65 rear) and it handled practically neutral and very predictably.
As a result I got 4 years of utterly reliable service and far better performance than one normally expects from a £550 banger.
Despite the high mileage I didn't have to replace any of the following:
Bushes; wheel bearings; CV joints; steering components; brake pipes; clutch; clutch cable; gaskets; battery; or, amazingly, light bulbs (that's obviously more luck than anyone's good judgement!).
It's no screamer, but it'll do 75mph on the motorway all day, no worries, and it pulls off the line as fast as most cars in town. It won't handle high revs (4400 peak, 3600 max for cruising) but the gearing is sensible.
Comfort is adequate rather than stunning. I do wish I'd fixed the cabin heater when I got it rather than 2 years later - in working condition it's great!
I've already bought another similar and am currently doing it up to the same spec. Bear in mind that given what these cost, even low mileage examples, you can easily justify replacing all the stuff like shock absorbers and tyres with good quality stuff to make the car feel like new. It might seem funny spending £400 on parts for a £350 car, but I reckon it's invariably better economy than buying a £750 car and just running it 'as is' until the wheels fall off perhaps only months later.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 11th April, 2005