I bought a 5-speed manual Aspire third hand with 140000km on the clock. Only major problem was a faulty fuel pump that was replaced at 170k - a cheap diy fix. Since purchase the after-market mods have been tinted windows, alloy rims and stiffer suspension - because I love this car. Without doubt, this is the best car I have ever owned. Mechanically it has been perfect with regular oil and coolant changes, and one set of disks and brakes in 50,000km. Amazing, considering it regularly works in the 3-4k rpm range when squeezing through the traffic. My version has a boot opener! No chance of selling this one - the family would never allow it. That's Ok with me - they can bury me in it!
Fuel economy is great. Size is perfect for the city/shopping centres. Enough room for a young family. Excellent visibility all round. Minor mods make the car look a million $$$. Keep the revs high and it will keep up with most cars off the line. 5th gear at 3000rpm is about 100kph (65mph).
Stiffer suspension - 1.5L engine, fog lights, oil press gauge. Seats are a little uncomfortable after a 2 hour drive. No room for 8x6 speakers unless you install them in the cargo tray or route the interior. But these are minor things - after 2 years of faithful service this is still a great car
I rented a Ford Aspire once and decided it was the car I wanted to buy. I've had this car 10 years. Replaced a clutch (60K miles), and have had the front end (outer tie rod, and L ball joint replaced just last year. I give it regular oil changes and keep the tires inflated. Except for this last year with the front end work, this has been a dream. 41+ mpg highway, 34 city. Quiet, and small enough to fit into even the smallest parking spaces. The hatch is roomy - it's like a clown car on the inside! I can get so much stuff in it it's crazy! I can drive in the snow when bigger 4WD vehicles can't. It's 13 (near 14) years old, and I don't intend to get rid of it any time soon. Yay for me.
Drives in any weather, and has excellent traction in the snow.
I bought my Aspire from my cousin (after begging for years for him to sell it to me). It had 163K on the motor at the time. Nine (k) later, the motor finally gave out. I have since had a new motor installed and worked over most of the parts. I don't know what I would do w/out it now! I got 38mpg city and 41mpg highway (easy driving/no AC on)!! I wouldn't hesitate to find another Aspire and get it back on the road too!
Styling, body curves, interior ergonomic design
Cruise control (can't complain about HP b/c it is only a 1.3L motor) But it's strong for a small car!