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Chevrolet Cavalier



  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Where's the VW Jetta on the above list?
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Neons, Lancers, Rios, and Aerios are all coming at big discounts right now. If I had a choice to pay $12K for a Cavalier LS or to pay $13K for an Aerio or Neon, I would definitely go for one of the latter. Even the Neon is a fairly new design (2000 model year) and has better crash scores than the Cavalier. They also come with a longer powertrain warranty as well.

    The Lancer has a $2000 rebate right now, meaning you could probably get one for $15k or so. You would pay a little more, but the car is light years ahead of the Cavalier in refinement, space, and comfort IMO.

    The Cavalier is a nice car if you're just running around town or commuting a short distance in it. I commute 80 miles daily, and the Cavalier would kill me because it's too uncomfortable to drive personally. To each his own I guess.
  • The VW is not on the Edmunds list of under 15K sedans.
  • I agree that the Cavalier would likely be a no sale for most 80 mile per day commuter requirements - unless one drives illegally with ear protection. ;)
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Actually, the noise levels in the car didn't really bother me. What did bother me was the sitting-on-the-floor driving position (I am 6'3 and am used to my PT's higher-up stance now), the limited room inside, and the cheap feeling of everything from the doors' way of closing to the interior that felt like it would break off in my hands if I were too rough with it.
  • What did bother me was the sitting-on-the-floor driving position (I am 6'3 and am used to my PT's higher-up stance now),

    Isn't that a problem for almost every car in the class? Is that really an issue unique to the Cavalier?

    the limited room inside

    The 96 body design is roomier than the earlier one. Again, is there a car in the class that is roomier? (seriously, researching that on 15 cars is time-consuming.)

    and the cheap feeling of everything from the doors' way of closing to the interior that felt like it would break off in my hands if I were too rough with it.

    Well, maybe the 2002s+ are different, but the 97 has been durable in this regard. I think the chintzy material is GM standard, up to at least the $33K Montana.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Not every car in the class has that legs-splayed-out stance as the Cavalier does. Sit in a new Protege, Civic, Elantra, or Lancer and you will see what I mean. It just seems the seats are very close to the floor, and when you're tall it really kills thigh support for you.

    Also, the Cavalier is pretty roomy for the fact that it's almost 10 years old in its current design. It's not airy inside though, like the cars listed above or even Toyota's Echo.

    The 96s are not durable in the regard of the interior. My best friend has one, and it's a total rattle trap. A 1998 base coupe I test drove felt the same way, and this was about 3 months ago. Maybe it is a GM thing, but it's unacceptable nonetheless.
  • It was a good discussion, but I don't have much to further it. Just a comment rather than just letting it trail off....
  • I recently purchased a 2000 Cavalier 4-door LS (4sp. auto). The previous owner flat towed the car. Does anyone know if the odometer (digital readout) registers mileage when the car is towed in neutral? The car has 48,000 miles on it, but I am not sure if that is actual mileage.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    If all 4 wheels were touching the ground when the car was being towed, then the mileage will add up from that.
  • pulgopulgo Posts: 400
    Right now in British Columbia it is possible to purchase this car for $ 8740 plus taxes, or $ 10000. Not a bad deal IMHO.
    Using a GM Visa I could take another $ 1000 off that, making it an even better deal.
    I'm willing to bet that the car would go 200k miles with few mechanical problems.

    Would I like driving that car? H..ll no!
  • I am a Chevy Cavalier owner of both a 1993 LS and 1997 4 door sedan. I have to tell you that I had more problems with the 97 than the 93. I had the transmission, head gasket, and water pump replaced within 2 years. My 93 has close to 180,000 miles on it and most of the parts replaced were due to old age. The 93 is faster and I get close to 40 mpg on the highway!!! (I once drove from Cedar Point, OH to Browns Mills, NJ and still had a quarter tank left or 563 miles!!) I just wish the 93 had more room in the back, because in essence it's a 2 seater! So I can relate to some of the other owner's problems and gripes, but it also depends on how alert the builders were the day that particular car was built, if you have a great running vehicle you probably had all the assembly people awake, alert, and on the ball! If you had problems think that you may have gotten the "5:30, last of the cars for the day, on a Friday" ! In other words they wanted out and only half their hearts were in it, and despite that most line are automated, some human interaction is needed to "tweek" the fine tuning or tightning before sent of the assembly line. I now have a brand spanking new 2004 and I love it, and I want to see if my babying it from day one with "over maintaining" it will make a difference, but so far it's been the best of both worlds the roominess of my 1997 and the power, agility, comfort of my 1993. So lets hope the Ecotec engine is the dream that it has been so far!
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Believe it or not, most people I know with Cavaliers (including myself, in the past) have had trouble with the new ones. Mine was loaded with rattles, and needed the engine computer reprogrammed due to a CEL that wouldn't go out at 34K miles.

    A friend still has a 1996 2-door with 135K that has been through $1000s in repairs, including a brand new transmission at 100K, ignition, fuel injector, water pump, and a couple batteries.

    Someone else I know blew 3 head gaskets within 10K miles in their Cavalier with less than 70K miles on it. The person finally dumped it and got something else, getting tired of repairing the car every time they turned around.

    The current Cavaliers are a throwback to the 80s in the small car class. They are uncomfortable, unreliable, and unsafe. The only good thing about them seems to be the Ecotec engine.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    what are you doing on this site.
  • Whoa. Unreliable and unsafe? You make it sound like they're Yugos or Pintos.

    In my experience, Cavaliers are quite reliable. In the first one, we paid for a clutch, struts, and an alternator.

    There have been no repairs on the 97 except for regular maintenance items, most of which occur at 5 years (plugs, wires, coolant, tranny fluid (based upon where I live), etc.).

    As for safe, I've had to execute emergency maneuvers in both vehicles I've owned (on snow and in heavy rain) and the handling with ABS (standard equipment) and OEM tires was exceptional.

    Now the IIHS doesn't think much of the Cav, but the NHTSA shows it to be about, to above, average. I think one will find that most GM vehicles fail to get the highest marks.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    I would have to disagree with your comments.

    While I think the current Cavalier is very dated, it's not unreliable and it generally carries an "average" rating in magazine reliability ranks. Powertrian is solid as a rock.

    We leased a 99 with the old powertrian for 3 years and had 1 trip to the shop for a rear end rattle which turned out to be a faulty shock.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    A friend still has a 96 base coupe with the 3-speed auto tranny. His has blown an ignition, a transmission, fuel injector, and head gasket since he has had it. Also, the paint on the hood is peeling off now. It's got about 136K on it, but I still think it would have held up better than it did.

    I saw on that the leftover 03 Cavaliers have a $4500 rebate on them. I guess that's pretty good, since a loaded LS Sport would end up costing about $15K loaded, if you're willing to compromise on the aging chassis and safety as compared to other cars in this class. I bet a used 01-03 would be even cheaper if you could find it. Beware of resale value on the new ones, and definitely buy GAP insurance on any of them or you will lose your shirt if you car's totalled anytime soon.
  • rae52rae52 Posts: 103
    14,000 miles and 1.5 years later, ALL IS WELL with my '02 Cav LS automatic!!! Anybody else care to share experiences with their late-model cavs?
  • My daughter owns a Z-24. She is finally going to sell it and let someone else take over the headaches that this car has caused. She had the engine rebuilt at 70,000 miles for $2800 and just recently had the transmission rebuilt to the tune of $2500. Now she has ignition problems that the tranny dealer claims he didn't do. (The car started fine before he touched it.) Maybe someone had a similar problem. Every couple of starts the starter clicks like it has a weak battery, then after several tries it starts up fine.
  • My 2002 Cavalier has the 2.2L and 4 speed automatic.

    Sorely needed was a drain plug on the transaxle for routine fluid changes. (Nine quarts of Dextron is hard to drain - and messy - without a drain plug.)

    A 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" X 1/4" thick piece of steel was welded to the pan by a professional weld shop. Then I drilled and tapped for a 3/8" tapered pipe plug.

    Whoops. The weld had a flaw, and the transaxle
    leaked badly.

    After removing the pan again, I went to a different weld shop for the fix.

    The second weld shop explained what the problem
    had been. It was the galvanized coating on the
    pan. This makes it extremely difficult to weld
    either with a torch or electric weld.

    At the second weld shop they even tested the pan
    for 24 hours by filling it with oil and letting
    it sit. This to insure that their repair was

    I'm sure glad that I didn't try to use my amateur
    welding talents. I had no idea what a coating of
    galvanize would cause.
  • My 02 Cav has been problem free for the two years I have owned it. 2.2L engine with the five speed. Never gets less than 30 mpg. Best mpg was 39 on the highway. This car has the most power of any four banger I have ever owned.
  • kmagkmag Posts: 98
    Wife's 01 Cav coupe has been a good running car. Bought it with 29K in January and is now approaching 40K. Got hosed on the purchase but the car has done well. Not the best small car I have driven but certainly not the worst. Crossing my fingers hoping it lasts......
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I decided to give Chevy a chance since they have been so good to the being good to car buyers. I have seen their ratings improve considerably on quality and consumer satisfaction over the years. They haven't had the major stumbles like Ford had on the Explorer and and the Focus (quality control issues on the Focus, mainly related to the first year).

    I also have a Ford Focus ZX3 with the PZEV enginge - no air and a 5 speed - that I got as an "advertised special" for $9k.

    The 2004 Cav Coupe cost me 10,295, less $200 California rebate for increased license fees. List price was $10,700 with the 5 speed, air con, and cd player. If you punch in a California zip code on you can see the "Special Value Package" option, which is the 1SV package. You can't add any options, like ABS, or this model reverts to regular "base model" pricing. There are no rebates on this special model (but you save on taxes and license fees which would otherwise be charged on rebate amounts). Current rebate is $4,000.00, but I did the math and there is no way to grind a 2004 below 11,000 just with the generous rebate. I am sure, however, that these models will turn up in newspaper ads for under $10k at some point. It is a great marketing device.

    My car is quite fast with the Ecotec. Of course the Focus is quite fast with the 2.3 PZEV adapted from the Mazda6. In a couple of years I'll decide which one to keep - the Cav or the ZX3. A lot will depend on dealer service, reliabilty, glitches.

    My initial (over 100 miles) impression of the Cav is that the ZX3 has better NVH - "noise, vibration, harshness" - but a freeway speed the Cav is similarly quiet, with a solid feel over bumps, but comfortable on most road surfaces (the ZX3 I have, with the 15 inch wheels, is similarly compliant, but the ZX3's with the 16 inch wheels and lower profile tires are much harsher).

    The air con is strong, but sounds odd - the proverbial "hamster in an exercise wheel" kind of sound. Maybe something is out of whack, or maybe the compressor/fan is noisy; I'll have the dealer check it out at the first oil change.

    The Getrag tranny is worthy of "name branding." It is a nice unit, not as slick as the current Honda Civic 5 speed, but certainly "enthusiast" grade. The Ecotec is a little noisy until it warms up, then sounds more solid; it is always fast and strong. No hesitation like on the Focus ZX3 PZEV 2.3 (which I believe is the result of stricter pollution controls on the Focus).

    I am really impressed by the highway mileage ratings on the Ecotec with stick. This brings back memories of my 35 mpg Neons and 39 mpg Civic. Also I am betting it will do well at interstate speeds, unlike my former VW Golf which tended to suck fuel due to the very high freeway revs.

    Sound system is fine. I like the steering wheel, the actual temperature gauge, the 150,000 mile coolant (even if you are on the 3,000 mile service cycle!), the 100,000 mile spark plugs (even on the 3k service). I think its neat that Chevy includes in its official "inspections" "cleaning the radiator of bugs" since I do country road driving.

    Finally, the Coupe looks pretty good. I peeled off the "Cavalier" emblem, so now all that you see on the back is the big gold bow tie and the emossed "Chevrolet" name on the back bumper.
  • isseyvooisseyvoo Posts: 121
    Well, I'm laboring over the decision of whether or not to sink a bit of money into ole semi-reliable, or whether to say goodbye after 11 years. My '92 Cav, bought new, now has 102K on it, doesn't burn any oil, runs like a top, but I think will soon need its 1st new exhaust, a set of new tires, and possibly front end work, since I hear an occasional strange sound when turning at low speeds. Not to mention that coolant seems to disappear for the last couple years (to no obvious place - no puddling, no foam on dipstick, no "white smoke" out the tailpipe). I'm flip-flopping on whether or not to keep the car. It's a so-so car at best, but I'm sentimentally attached. Advice? I feel like I'd be euthanizing an elderly pet if I were to junk it.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Apparently the new Cobalt (replacing the Cavalier next year) will have an optional 2.4L 170 hp version of the Ecotec. The new Ecotec will have variable vale timing and also some added refinements.

    Should be a great leap in quality and refinement but I'm sure it will cost considerably more than the 10K bargain you drive now.

  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    If that 92 doesn't have any major issues and still runs as well as you say it does, why not hold on to the car and drive it until it dies? You're not gonna get much trading or selling the car, and you will more than likely have to end up making car payments on something newer.

    I have been through several cars in my 7 years of driving because I get tired of them. I sometimes wish I still held onto one of the cars I had, a 99 Protege DX. It was totally basic except for automatic and a CD player, but it was one of the most reliable cars I have owned. It would be totally paid for now, but of course with about 150K on it with the amount that I drive. :)

    Oh well, live and learn I guess...
  • Well, I know what you're saying. As someone who previously owned a 92 for 9.5 years, I would just note that from a safety perspective, you're at a disadvantage in that car compared to most other cars on the road today. One thing to consider....
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    Even with all the rebates, you won't spend 10,000 dollars to go over your current car. Don't expect to get it back, ever, but you'll keep it going for at least another 5 years.
    The "safety" is relative. People are still driving VW Bugs on a daily basis,and you will ALWAYS encounter larger vehicles than yours even if you drive an SUV.
    I understand about the sentimental value. My 99 [trouble free 44,000 miles] Cavalier is the first brand new car I ever allowed myself and I will never get rid of it. It's been totally satisfying and reliable as well. I have had my 63 Valiant for 23 years and it's not going anywhere either.[and I only have seat belts in that one and have never been worried about it's safety. You get to know your car's limitations.]
    Remember, what your car is "worth" is what it's going to cost to replace it with something else.
    It's an old friend, keep it and fill your bank account with the car payments you would make on a new one. It adds up fast.
  • My friend just got a 2004 LS sedan(ABS, power everything, auto., etc.).

    He got a GM family discount, plus whatever other incentives are going on right now. He ended up paying 11-something out the door.

    Is this a good deal? Or could he have done better? This was right near Youngstown, Ohio where the Cavalier is built.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    My 2004 Base Model, no power anything, cost 10,200, and I still feel I got a great deal (this is what my cheapie 93 Civic CX cost me in 92!).
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