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Fuel efficient, reliable transportation with a three year warranty for less than most three year old used cars.
The 1.3-liter engine is despairingly weak; this isn't the car to buy if your daily commute involves climbing many hills.
This Kia-built entry-level Ford gets a higher final drive ratio on models equipped with an automatic transmission. New wheel covers, paint choices and interior trim are the only other changes.
Commonly known among Ford salespeople as the "Expire" because of its asthmatic acceleration, the Aspire replaced Ford's spunky Festiva in 1994. Originally, the Aspire was the only subcompact available with standard dual airbags and optional antilock brakes. Now, all subcompacts on the market offer standard dual airbags and optional antilock brakes.
The Aspire is available in three- or five-door hatchback body styles, in a single trim level. A torquey 63-horsepower engine motivates the Aspire, but the optional automatic transmission effectively severs what little power it is able to transmit to the front wheels. We have received considerable mail from people who have rented the Aspire when on budget vacations or cheap business trips who were horrified to discover that the car was unable to maintain freeway speeds when confronted with the most innocuous of inclines.
Aspire is surprisingly roomy inside, and the dashboard houses easy-to-read, if basic, instrumentation. Base prices start at just under $8,600 and can climb to a maximum of just over $14,000 for a fully loaded five-door hatch.
This year Ford limits revisions to interior/exterior color changes, new wheel covers, and a higher final drive ratio on models equipped with an automatic transmission .
Aspires are affordable and reliable, but there are other models in this class that offer the same with much more go power. We can only recommend the base three-door model with a manual transmission, because prices escalate quickly once the options are added, pushing the Aspire into Hyundai Accent territory. Pile the options on and you might as well buy the bigger, more powerful Ford Escort. Stick to the basics, and the Aspire is a good value, especially when the local Ford dealer offers them up for a big discount in price. Beware of inexpensive program cars, though, chances are that they have been driven at or near redline by Hertz renters in Orlando for all of their 20,000-30,000 miles.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.