You're not going to impress anyone by driving this car but it is cheap to buy and drive and it holds up well. The positive notes are the price point, reliability, and fuel economy. Mine has 180,000 mi...
You're not going to impress anyone by driving this car but it is cheap to buy and drive and it holds up well. The positive notes are the price point, reliability, and fuel economy. Mine has 180,000 miles on it now. It went about 170,000 on the original engine before it required replacement. I believe this car shares it's powerplant with several other vehicles in it's class like the Ford Escort, making replacement parts cheap and easy to find when needed. The only repairs I've done are the engine/clutch (didn't need the clutch but the one I got with the engine looked newer so I threw it in), brakes, tires, OEM stlye cat back exhaust, O2 sensor, throttle position sensor, and a new upper dash.
I have managed to squeeze 41 MPG out of it a road trip where I stay on the highway and keep it between 65 and 70MPH. The car turns about 3,500 rpm at 75MPH which scares me a little so I usually don't go more than about 70. I've also noticed this car gets about 2.5 to 3 MPG better when running premium fuel which actually makes it cheaper to run than the cheap gas. I've been averaging about 34 MPG this summer running the A/C about 25% of the time and rarely driving on the highway with it. The original A/C hasn't required any service and cools the car effectively. The downside to this vehicle is what it lacks in creature comforts. I only took one long road trip in this car out of necessity when my VW let me down and I already had a trip planned. The model I own does not have cruise control or power windows and the wind noise is downright bad at highway speeds. Also I am 6' tall and between the seats and footwell area, it is not comfortable for much more than a quick trip to run some local errands or going back and forth on my 15 minute commute through town and some back roads. I don't think it's the size as much as it is the low cost appointments and lack of power options. For comparison, a 3-series BMW is the same size within fractions of an inch in most categories but yet is far more comfortable.
All in all, if you don't have alot of money or even if you do but you don't like spending it on gas and vehicle depreciation, this is an OK choice. Would be a great starter car except with the car being so small and lightweight I would worry about the crash protection for the occupants.