Perfect Little City Car
By Ithar on Saturday, December 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 137,000
overall rating 9 of 10rating details
- Overall Rating
Pros: "MPG, Reliable, Somewhat fun with a manual"
Cons: "Slightly uncomfortable and loud on long trips"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I have owned this car for nearly 5 years now, and have put approximately 50k on it since purchase. Mine is the 4dr LX model, with 5-speed manual transmission. Let's start with what it is like to drive. There is plenty of power in 1st and 2nd gear in town, but power does noticeably taper off at highway speeds. Passing someone on a two lane road typically requires a 5th to 3rd downshift. I don't think I would purchase this car with an automatic, there just isn't enough power there. The steering is quite heavy for a small car. I tend to like this except at very low speeds. The weight of the steering gives it a somewhat sporty feel, unlike modern economy cars that all have far too boosted of steering in my opinion. The brakes work well(no abs though). It stops confidently and quickly, though it does require significant pedal effort. The clutch is also somewhat heavy for a small car, but it does offer a lot of feedback and has a nice engagement point. The shifter is excellent. The car snaps into gears with a couple of fingers quite easily, though you can feel every gate, and will never miss a shift. The shifter is one of the best parts of this car.
Now, let's move on to interior and comfort. The seats are ok, though they do get a little uncomfortable on long trips. My wife is much shorter than me, and doesn't seem to have as much trouble over long distances. My car being an LX model comes equipped with most of the creatures comforts you would want; cruise control, power windows, power locks, and air conditioning. All of these features work quite well, though the driver side power window is starting to show its age. It has gotten quite slow, especially in the cold. I will have to replace the motor soon. The car is a little bit noisy inside, but not terrible. It is after all, a very small and light car. You get noticeable road and wind noise. However, the cabin is free from squeaks and rattles even after 15 years(unlike my 2013 Toyota Sienna). The trunk is fairly large for such a little car, and will easily haul a large load of groceries, or a weeks worth of luggage for 2-3 people.
The gas mileage has been excellent. I get around 30mpg city with it, and in the upper 30's on the highway. The mileage does drop off when you start pushing 70-80 mph, though this is probably due to the fact that the engine is spinning at over 3000 rpm's at that speed.
The car has been fairly reliable. The exhaust basically disintegrated at 100k from the catalytic converter back. Fortunately my local O'Reilly auto parts store sells all the pieces necessary to fix the exhaust. Cost me about $250 to do the whole works myself. Otherwise, I have done front brakes, oil changes, and put gas in it. It has cost me very little to own. Insurance is even relatively cheap. Mine is starting to rust a little, but it is 15 years old. I would recommend this car to anyone looking for a cheap and reliable set of wheels. Would make a great first car for a teenager as well. I would steer clear of an automatic if you can help it. It would probably be extremely slow and frustrating to drive."
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