My brother bought his wife a 1992 Honda Accord 5 speed. It was what she asked for. It had around 160,000 miles on it. In the four years he has owned it they have repaired or replaced
- timing belt- $500 to replace a $30 belt at a Honda dealership (80,000 miles service life), not including the cost of the oil seals and water pump that also needed to be replaced "while we're in there"
- halfshafts & CV joints
- transmission- case was cracked and wouldn't hold fluid; also replaced clutch, pp, and tob
- AC system- whole thing including condenser
Now it has around 200,000 miles on it and they are looking for an engine for it last I heard. They paid $1600 for it and have spent $2000 that I know of trying to keep it on the road, not modified, just trying to drive it to work. I told him I paid $750 for my Bonneville, and after a bumper and taillights, harmonic balancer pulley, water pump and heater core, I'm still in it for less that they paid for their Honda. He did not have a response.
Meanwhile my little sister is still
driving Mom'* old Cavalier. It'* about a 1991 with well over 200,000 miles on it, original engine and transmission and no signs of letting up any time soon.
I had a 1986 Cavalier Z24 notchback with the 2.8 HO and Muncie 4 speed with 4.10 final drive. The optional trans was an Isuzu 5 speed with 3.something final drive. Mine would run off and leave the 5 speed cars. I finally had to retire it after the third time it got hit in the same side.
It should be obvious what my advice is. Japanese cars are highly overrated in my opinion. And that is an opinion based on having owned several and worked on lots more. They are harder to work on and the parts cost more.