The 1996 Cabrio is my first car. Put simply, I adore it. As for durability, three people have learned stick shift on the 5-speed manual model. It is all but indestructible. I would recommend it heartily to anyone wanting to learn stick shift. Mine also lacks a glove compartment, but there are other "shelf" like things by the seat which can hold documents and manuals. It is surprisingly roomy. Everyone is surprised when they see my large trunk. It must have been designed by a wizard. It handles well. With only 4 cylinders, it takes awhile to accelerate, but runs great. Fortunately for my taller friends, the top is easy to remove. One of my latches tends to stick, so I move it out of the way before lifting the top - not a huge problem. The wheels tend to squeal a little in the rain, but it steers well. The instrument panel light has died. I have not had trouble with water. There is minimal leakage during automatic car washes. (The manual admits this.) NOTICE: This car takes MINERAL OIL for steering fluid. Regular fluid will cause the car to sound like a small cat being slowly strangled to death. I love this little car and will be very sad to part with it.
Cute and fun, but a few design flaws
I acquired this car when it was 11 years old with 80K miles. I prefer small cars and have found the Cabrio to perform very well for its size. Visibility through rear window seems better than average for convertibles, but road noise from roof seems worse. Backseat is surprisingly comfortable for size of car, and front seat passenger/driver headroom is also ample compared to other compact models I've driven. Originally I did not admire the visually prominent roll bar, but now I find it charming. I encountered several unexpected drawbacks, including: ? Unusually small wheels cause the steering to pull side to side on uneven or bumpy pavement. However, steering and suspension feel tight and responsive otherwise. ? There is no glove compartment, apparently due to the location of the passenger-side airbag. Nor are there any other closed storage compartments of any kind inside the car, only open pockets in doors and alongside front seats! This makes it awkward to leave the roof open when car is parked, even for a short time, as there is nowhere to store sunglasses, GPS, power adapters, etc. except for the trunk. ? During rain, significant water runs into interior of car from roof when door is opened. Convertible roof design doesn't permit typical gutters above doors, but structure of roof seems to contribute to the problem. Overall I enjoy the car and plan to keep it indefinitely.