HOW TO BAG THE BEST DEAL
The sills and wheelarches are the main areas of corrosion, and there have been some reports of rusty subframes. Don’t accept a crispy car.
For optimum usability, find one of the 1.2-litre 16v units available from late 2000. A comprehensive service history is very important, and will need to show that the timing belt has been changed at least every 36,000 miles. There are reports of ignition coils failing frequently.
Automatics do develop faults. The five-speed manual is the more reliable option. Check for oil leaks and smooth shifting. There’s also a semi-auto ‘QuickShift’, offered from 2001.
TRIM & 4
Just check everything works, and be picky about seat upholstery or carpets that might be worn or damaged. Models with the folding roof are the most desirable, but do check for easy operation of the folding mechanism, and signs of leaks.
Check the car tracks straight and true, without knocking noises or wobbling. Any anomalies will probably be caused by worn bushes, warped brakes or imbalanced tyres. Inspect the front disc brakes for corrosion and wear.