I have this beauty for 5 years now and bought it with 140KM as a second car/ winter car,
I drive it daily to construction job and my only car for all winter. I had 3 different BMWs during this period and I love this beauty just as much as my 2012 M3, I drove it in winter from Toronto to Grande Prairie in 2.5 days 4000Km and all I did so far after 5 years and 220KM was front brake, timing belt, and 4 new winter tires, I drove the last set of winter tires 4 years for summer and winter and they were still good for one more year.
Excellent in gas, reliable and cheap to run, very light and agile and handles great.
I dont expect more for a car that I bought $1700 5 years ago.
Bought the car in '08. Never let me down, all is working, but the seatbelt sensor, and I had to put new brakes on. Never failed to start, and doesn't look like it will. Cheap to fix. Only problem is in the interior. Since it's a small car (I have the 4Dr...not the 2), it's limited in space, and the cup holders are horrible for a Tim Horton's XL coffee. No arm rest.
Always reliable, good looking design, and very tough car.
Fuel gauge stinks. From the half tank, you need 20 bucks to fill it up, and from empty to half, you need 10. Interior is not as comfy as my Camaro.
My girlfriend and I were shopping for a car and almost leased a new Mazda 3 sport GS. We opted instead for a 1998 Tercel CE metallic black on gray w/ AC. The car came with Blizzak snow tires on 13" rims (1998s came with 14"). The car is in amazing condition, especially inside. The cloth seats show no wear at all after 7 years! I replaced the snow tires with 13" Goodyear Allegras and the ride, handling and road noise all improved. The A/C blows cold (just a bit weak during the 36-37c heat wave). I have owned $55k BMW 3 series among other things and I am VERY impressed with this car. There are no squeaks and rattles!
Excellent ride, good A/C, good mileage, excellent build quality.
Fix the clunky shift linkage and improve the A/C strength slightly for very hot climates.
Bought new in Feb., 1998. NEVER been in the shop for needed repairs other than when I hit a deer. New hood & new grill but no engine damage when I hit the deer. I currently have near 126,000 miles. I use mobil 1 oil & hope to get many more miles out of it.
I love this car! 50 can mpg. 400,000 kms in 8 years. Changed oil every 5000kms and tune up and tires every 100,000. Thats it! Haven't even replaced a light bulb yet! Why would they stop making a car like this? Hell I even pull a tent trailer in the summer! It's bullet proof!
Simple, economical, reliable and performs well in all conditions.
It really can't be improved. It's oddities make it what it is.