This car is seriously the most reliable car I have ever had. I am a college student and bought it used for about $3800, and it is worth every penny.
Bought it with about 117,000 miles and I drive it everywhere. I frequently drive it about 100+ miles to school and back, and have done many long trips (200+ miles) in it with no concerns about getting to my destination. I have put very little money into the car in terms of maintenance, other than the regular oil changes and stuff. I am a mechanic, so I buy the parts and work on it myself, and it truly is a pleasure to work on. Very simple.
The only things I would change would be:
- I would add cruise control, as long trips are somewhat uncomfortable even for a short person like me.
- I wish mine had a manual transmission, as I can feel it a tiny bit when it shifts into 2nd gear, and my knowledge on rebuilding automatics is lacking a bit. I also wish it was a five speed, however the overdrive really makes it nice for long trips. Not sure what the gear ratio is, but it does very well at fairly high speeds of 70-80mph, without much strain on the engine.
- I wish I had the four door version... it would be so much easier for when I give people rides.
This car has impressed me quite a bit. I am short, so having a small car doesn't affect me at all in terms of comfort, however when my taller friends have to squeeze into the backseat, I can imagine it's not real pleasant!
It has a surprisingly large trunk!!! This is amazing, because I am a scuba diver and frequently carry all my gear and several tanks in the trunk, and it all fits easily!
Gas mileage is a dream. I get about 33-35 MPG in town, and my record has been 43 MPG I believe on the highway. So impressive and affordable for someone like me with a very limited budget. For a car with only 93 HP, it has pretty good pick up and go! It's peppy for such a little car and I like it a lot. I do notice that it is a little slow climbing mountains, but with my foot on the floor I can pull about 65mph. Road noise isn't really that bad, I just turn up the music. A/C blows cold and doesn't affect my performance. Parking is a DREAM! I can park it literally anywhere I want, where the newer bigger cars wouldn't dream of trying.
Toyota did a nice job with the overall look, etc. It is an economy car, and on the basic side of things. Personally I like that because there is less to worry about and fix. My 1989 Honda Accord had power windows, locks, sunroof, mirrors and all that jazz. However, the locks would eventually stop working and the window motor would wear out. I don't mind having everything in the cabin manually operated; in my mind it's less that can break and have to be replaced unless you are really abusing it.
The stock sound system isn't terrible, but someday I will upgrade it as the salt from diving is slowly wearing out the speakers. There is very little rust on the car and it handles like a dream on snow, ice, whatever. I have even briefly driven it off-road and it's great. The front wheel drive makes it so much easier with snow, and I am grateful for that!
It's obviously not a Rolls Royce, but what do you expect from a small car like this? In terms of cost of operation, maintenance, and dependability, it has impressed me and many others who also own it. It's a great car as a first for new drivers and college students like myself, however I see myself driving it for many years to come. Other than being small, I would recommend it to anyone. I treat mine like a show car, and love it so much I have even named it. :)