Written on: 01/05/2012 by bobscrobbit (1 review written)
I was given this car (1997) by a relative free of charge 18 months ago. He had it from new and it has a complete service history. It has 135k on the clock, 30k of which is mine. The handling is superb on bends - much better than the mk2 which was scarily unstable. In fact, the handling is better than any other car I've owned, although it has to be said that I've always driven crappy old cars. Clutch and gearbox OK. It hasn't got power steering so it can be a pain to park. Fairly quiet inside. Good on the motorway. Fuel consumption not too bad but I've had better out of an Astra. Spare parts are cheap.
I recognise the engine from the Mk1 and 2, but there are none of the problems with the points gap because it doesn't have any! Starts first time every time. Has intermittent stalling misfiring problems especially in cold weather, not cured by changing the stepper motor. Could be TPS or mass air sensor but who knows? ...not worth spending the money to fix it as it doesn't actually break down and it rights itself after a while. Still on original clutch and brake pipes. Burns 1 pint of oil per 1000 miles.
The worst feature of this car is the position of the oil filter - behind the engine and only accessible from underneath - the oil runs down your arm if you're not careful when unscrewing the filter.
These cars eat front lower suspension arm bushes and I expect to have to have the arms replaced at next MOT (already replaced once according to its service history).
You're supposed to adjust the tappets regularly but this has never been done on this particular car and I'm not going to start now...the tappets aren't noisy and the valves have never burned.
Overall a nice cheap car if you can tolerate the stalling problem.