Product Type: Fiat cars
Newest Review: ... too light, till we experienced gearbox problems later on. *********************************** *********************** Obviously when comp... more
My First Car
Member Name: Road_knight76
Date: 04/02/03, updated on 04/02/03 (670 review reads)
Advantages: Cheap, Good bodywork, Spacious interior
Disadvantages: Underpowered, Plain interior
After passing my test in October 99 i was pretty keen to get out on the road, so needed a small cheap car to practice my new found skills in. Unfortunately, Novas and 205s were mostly a little expensive for decent ones, and insurance was way out of my price range at the time. But i soon found a 903cc F reg Fiat Uno 45 Formula, and parted with £800 (it was marked at £1000 but a bit of bargaining soon sorted that out).
It was actually very roomy inside for the size of the car, and with the seats all the way back there was still plenty of leeg room in the back. The boot had plenty of space, proven when my mate neil once hid in it. However, the interior was a bit sparse to say the least; there was no cetre console, door cards and interior trims were minimal with no soundproofing, letting a lot of noise in especially when the car got over 50mph.
The exterior was in good condition, no rust whatsoever, not even under the wheelarches (I now own a Nova so i know all about rust...!!). I've seen a few others that are suffering from rust quite badly, but i think if the car has been looked after like mine had been then they're quite resistant.
The engine was a diffferent matter though. Soon after buying it, the head gasket went and in the process the head cracked and destroyed a piston. So the engine was sent away to be reconditioned, which set me back £500. Also I had problems with the carburettor getting easily blocked, and the drivers side CV joint rubber bush had a tendency to split easily. However my local Fiat dealer was very helpful and quick, and they were pretty cheap as far as main dealer parts go.
To drive, the car felt a bit sluggish on acceleration, and didn't handle well round the bends. It had a nasty habit of understeering quite wildly which made roundabouts ... challenging... at times. However, the steering was quite light and you could direct the car on the road with little effort.
As mentioned earlier,
it was noisy above 50mph, and would really struggle to get above 65mph without the doors rattling themselves off. The gear change was at best vague, and at worst non-existant. 3rd gear was probably the worst -you had to guess where it was each time; and it always crunched when engaging any gear.
The dashboard was a nightmare; as there was only one stalk from the steering column that had indicators on it, the rest was all on the dashboard on big switches that were either too big and got in the way, or were too small and stiff to move.
The main advantage of this car is the insurance, at only group 2 even i could afford it at age 17 on a saturday job! You could also fill the tank for under £20 and drive a good 200+ miles on that, so economy was good. And although it needed a few spares they never cost much more than £15-20 (not including the reconditioned engine!!)
As far as first cars go then it was a good car to have; it got me out on the road, was cheap to run & insure, and was relatively realiable, only stranding me once. But i don't think it's really worth much more than that, not even as a town runabout. If i had kept it more than a year then the constant repairs would have added up and not been worth it. It was also lacking in power, the 999cc Fire model would have been a much better choice for extra grunt.
With a bit of looking after, the car will go on for a while yet. I saw it the other day in a car park - still free from any sign of rust.