I purchased the Metro to save money of fuel. I had a 50-mile commute every day for work and needed something cheaper than my fuel-thirsty V8 pickup truck. The little red car was a four door and had room for my fishing rods and equipment and had a surprisingly ability to get into and out of some places that you would think would require four wheel drive. The steering was light, but the engine lacked any real power. I once drove it on a 300 mile trip for my job on the interstate and my nerves were frayed afterward. I was rewarded with 43 miles per gallon on that trip which was the best mileage it ever got. It averaged 34. Also, it was a blast to drive in the snow; it's tiny narrow tires just kept on finding traction somehow. My Metro had air conditioning, and I lived in the humid south at that time but I rarely used the a/c, it cut the power in half and highway speeds were nearly impossible. It was aptly named Metro because around town is where it flourished. The a/c worked better in town it was cheap to drive, and it's small size made parking easy.
I bought the 1990 Metro new for $6499. My wife used to drive between Randolph AFB and Lackland AFB everyday for work. Almost always she would encounter "rush hour traffic" that moved at 45-50 MPH. On her 90 mile commute at this low speed she routinely achieved 62-63 MPG week after week. After about 18 months she decided that she needed a more comfortable car. It had 65,000 trouble-free miles on it when we sold it. No cruise control, no A/C, no frills of any kind.
BTW, on a trip to South Dakota and back we averaged 65 MPH and got 46 MPG HWY.
The economy, reliability and ease of ownership on this car is unparalleled.
The only vehicle I have had since then that even comes close to the level of "trouble free ownership" that this Metro had is a 1989 Ford Bronco II.
I bought my 1990 Geo Metro from the original owner in 1992, with 58,000 miles on it. It was used daily for a 100 + mile freeway run; the easiest possible type of driving. The owner had been using Castrol Syntec 5W-50 synthetic oil, and had added an Amsoil bypass oil filter. I continued using the same oil and changing oil and filters regularly. The car is now 19 years old, and has run nearly 300,000 miles. I've replaced two timing belts, a water pump, an alternator, an oil seal, two sets of front brakes, tires, batteries, and tune up parts. The engine never had any internal repairs, has the original clutch, and runs better today than it did when I bought it (I am a professional mechanic).
I love the light, precise rack and pinion steering (no need for power steering here!!); the superb maneuverability in tight spaces; the solid reliability; the smooth and very peppy 3 cylinder engine; and the 47 mpg in city driving, with 55 mpg highway. I once got 58 mpg, with some special tuning.
I only wish they hadn't discontinued it. It gets better mileage than today's hybrids; without the complexity. Like most people, I had no idea how awesome this car is, until I drove it. People who say it is only good for local use are totally wrong. I have driven it on comfortable 1,500 mile trips.
Using 93 Octane, Full tire pressure, and a top notch Air Cleaner.. My Metro Gets 50 + MPG !!! Garage kept buy the one owner "Retired old lady" Never seen a hint of salt. Great car, Convertible, It might have a 1.0 liter Three Cylinder. But she has plenty of get up and go around the winding roads of Watkens Glen. Top speed Clocked at 108 MPH. Not too Shabby.
It has been 16 years since I had bought my Metro when it was new and it had nearly 600,000 miles. I have gone through 4 clutches, 2 front subframes, and 1 floorboard, which I replaced because it caved in last month on I-10. I had it dynoed 3 months ago and it made 21 hp, pretty good for such a high mileage car. Unfortunately, last week I parked it too close to the dump trucks at the quarry and I ran over it. That was when I discovered it was saturated with rust. Overall, it was a great car.
Averaged 80 mpg at 55 mph on the freeway.
The passing power was so bad, it took me 15 minutes to pass a semi at full throttle at 60 mph.