As you may already know, my Focus Wagon died recently.

And I had a pretty big candidate list 

So I spent last weekend researching and checking out cars. And this is what I bought... a 2003 Suzuki Aerio for CAD$1000:

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As you can see, for $1000 it seems like a great deal given that it just has a little bit of cosmetic rust (but looks pretty good underneath due to having been oil sprayed) and low mileage.

The catch? It doesn’t have the safety certificate. AND the MTO won’t issue a temp permit to me unless I’m the owner. Which meant taking it for an inspection before buying became impossible. So I’m taking a chance. I picked up the car today and am taking it to the mechanic tomorrow to get it safetied. It’s at that point I’ll truly find out how good of a deal I really got.

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Assuming it all goes reasonably well, the first to-do items will be an oil change, spark plug replacement, transmission fluid replacement, replace the brake fluid and probably flush/fill the coolant.

As for initial impressions? The seats are more comfortable than the seats in my old Focus. It doesn’t feel any faster or as ‘willing to rev’ as the Mazda-based engine in the Focus, though it should be a little faster in theory (5 hp more and 100-200lbs less weight).  You sit a little higher than in the Focus, the shifter is better than on my old Focus (mainly a function of wear. When new, the Focus would have had better shifter feel), clutch engagement isn’t as high up as on the Focus and when cold, the throttle response is touchy making smooth driving harder... but that effect goes away once warmed up.

Also... it passes the bicycle test: