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When I saw a 1984 1.3 Austin Metro for sale in my local free-ads for just £350, I was exstatic. I remember my best friend owning one from new and he had said that it was the best small car he had ever purchased. My wife needed a new car for work, and so I decided to investigate. Two weeks later I had haggled the owner down to £330 and I was the proud owner of this stunning blue pocket rocket. I'm making no false pretence that this is a fast car, however the term "Nippy" suites it well, with sharp handling and around 65bhp on tap.
Fuel economy is excellent, returning 45+mpg on a long run, and about 35 around town (perfect for negotiating the confusing one way systems of inner bournemouth cheaply...), and fuel efficiency is not the only money saving aspect of this car: After 3 weeks it appeared that the seal had gone in the petrol cap, a short trip down to my local Rover dealership sorted me out with a brand new cap, and I only had to hand over £1.45!!!
Parts are definately on the cheaper side of inexpensive for these cars, mainly due to their age and their surprising lack of following. However, this is set to change, as the car drifts slowly towards the domain of classic cult icon, interest is set to rise, making it a worth while investment for the future, especially due to the very low prices that you can pick one up for now. (One point to mention is that with the demise of MG-Rover, parts will become scarcer, but also cheaper, as backed-up ex-stock is shifted).
Legroom in the back is very restricted as you might guess, but no moreso than a mark.1 Fiesta or other contemporary rivals. Seats are evidently made on budget, but are surprisingly comfortable, the front seats adding essential body support without being too 'firm'.
The dashboard and interior plastics are cheap and cheerful, a sad reminder of British Leylands hard times around its construction, having said that, this is also true of most other manufacturers about the time, and should not be a distinguishing factor between this and, say, a vauxhall or a ford.
The peripheral controls are basic but funtional, the interior heater works well to keep you warm in the winter, despite being controlled completely manually, with two sliders and the air-vents.
Night-time visibility is good, with the sealed-beam lamp units offering a piercing view of the road ahead (halogen bulb conversions are available). Also, rear view vision is very good, with a large rear window, making parking in this already tiny car a breeze.
The stereo system offers a lot to be desired in quality but it'll play tapes and radio for hours without any (to my experience) reliabilty issues. Which is what it is designed for afer all.
Oil usage is economical, but I would still recommend changing it regularly (depending on the timescale given in the handbook for your particular model). Just so you know, I have based this review on the non-catalytic converter model, as that is what I have.
All in all, a very practical, economical, and generally fun car, with great character and definately a future classic.
Sorry this review is in the wrong section. With a comment like "drifts slowly towards the domain of classic cult icon" it should be in comedy or ramblings of a madman. The only place these cars are drifting towards is the smelting yard.
kgray71 19.01.2006 18:53
Good review, Kirsty
Marans 19.01.2006 17:58
My metro was one of the best cars I've owned. It had the stylish plastic walnut trim and was really useful. Small and simle, just like me! Emma.