I purchased this in 2013 with only 46,000 miles on it for only $2,000. Needed $500 worth of work to pass inspection, which had to do with the front stabilizing rods. This car is extremely reliable, although at times the transmission slams when going from park to reverse because of its high idle function. Had to put another $200 in a few months after purchase to repair ruptured brake line. Starts right up and has a really great hum to it. I get better gas mileage than its rated for, about 22mpg combined compared to the 18 or so its rated for, but I drive gently. UPDATE: Unfortunately, with only a little over 70k miles on it, the Engine started to make a weird knocking or tapping noise sporadically when the engine was under load and at lower RPMs although it still ran fine. I could definitely tell something was starting to go wrong, not to mention a bunch of check engine codes. I took it to a bunch of engine mechanics and they all said by the time they could tell me what was wrong, I might as well just get another engine and with the age of the car there was no way I was doing that. Put it on Craigslist and somebody purchased it locally -- they were willing to take their chances on the repair costs given a very reasonable price. All in all, happy with this car but wish I would have gotten a few more years out of it.
Bought this car as a replacement to my 98 Suzuki . Got it from a friend for $600 with about 140,000 miles. Needed a new battery, catalytic converter, ball joints, and AC system. Through all this I got the car and loved every second of it. Only thing I ended up fixing was the battery, all others were too expensive a repair. In the time I had it the left front turn signal burned out probably twenty or thirty times. But this car drove like a dream. I drive 50 miles a day and only had to fill up once every week and a half. Sadly I hit a deer after 6 months of having it. Tiny deer hit the airbag sensor at 40MPH and to fix would be $1,000, on top of the other fixes. But now I'm looking for another
Bought it in 99 when it had 38,000 miles on it. It now has 123,000 miles on it. Long time nagging problem is a squeaky internal vent fan and a poor defroster that usually refuses to turn on the compressor until the engine's warmed up, and sometimes randomly stops working. Front brakes kept warping until I replaced rotors with beefier aftermarket ones - since then, zero brake issues. 90,000 mile service was over $500 bucks. Other than that, its been solid until the last 6 months or so - the tranny's been hard shifting in 2nd gear. Only question is whether to fix it as I pass it on to the kids. 'Till then - baby it!
This car was originally purchased by my dad in teh fall of 1996 (I was only in middle school, but I remember going with him to buy it). Since then, the car has been driven by my mom, my sister (took a lot of abuse, as she learned to drive in it), and finally me. I use it primarily as my second car, particularly to transport my big dogs back and forth to the park (hard to lift them into my suv). It has 217,000 miles and is still going on the original engine and transmission. Sure, it's definitely showing its age, but it amazes me how well this thing still drives. Also, I'm amazed at how many of these things (96-97 model years) I still see driving around.
This is a great car. The Duratec engine has more than enough power (the response is amazing when you put the hammer down), and the ride is very smooth, and the seats are very supportive and comfortable on a long drive. Being tall, this car fits me well. Unlike similar Japanese competitors, this car actually feels like it has substance to it. The steering is tight, the 4-wheel disc brakes are powerful and the doors close nicely. It's well built. The controls are well placed, and the standard casette non-JBL stereo is great. I don't know why people hate these cars so much. If you take care of it, it will last a long time. No problems so far...knock on wood.