Last post on Aug 23, 2012 at 5:41 PM
You are in the Chevrolet Cavalier
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Chevrolet Cavalier, Sedan
#213 of 2171 Good car overall
Aug 25, 2000 (5:49 am)
I am 17 year old high school student. Recently in my little town i was looking at used cars because soon i would like to buy one. At one of the dealerships i went to ask the salesperson if they still had the Subaru Impreza that i saw there last week... the salesperson told me that they did not, then he asked me to look at a car he had out on the lot. The car was a 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier 2 dr. base, the paint was in nice shape, it was built decently and i even test drove it, i thought that the steering was really nicely weighted, and overall drove very good... the car only has 33,000 miles on it so it does have a lot of life left, the price was $8,500 w/taxes, tags, etc. i thought it was an ok deal but i just cant get a car yet because my mother will not co-sign for me (even though i have a well paying job) anyways what i want to say is when you go out looking for a used car, dont forget the Cavalier, it is worth the look, PLEASE NOTE : The Chevrolet Cavalier and Pontiac Sunfire are built off of the same platform and share many parts, but in my opinion in the vehicles i have seen the Chevrolet Cavalier appears to be MUCH BETTER BUILT, the reason for this is quite simple... in the Sunfire, GM has made the interior trim pieces to where after a few years they will start to loosen, in the Cavaliers' interior everything is kept simple helping it's build quality... While these cars are not built to the strict standards of some Japanese or asian makes, they make up for that in price and insurance premiums... my first car WILL be a Chevrolet Cavalier!
#214 of 2171 Matty...
Aug 25, 2000 (1:21 pm)
You are going to be sorry. Back in July 1999, I found a nice, low-mileage white 1996 Cavalier base with automatic and only 31,051 miles for $7995. I bought it, because I thought it was an excellent deal. What a mistake! Within the next 3 months and 9265 that I had it, the brakes had to be serviced 3 times, the parking brake 5 times, the P/S pump leaked, the muffler had to be replaced, the front strut, cigarette lighter, and trunk lock also had to be replaced. And it squeaked and rattled like it was 10 years old! What a mess! Also, trade-in value sucks on them. I think you should check out a more reliable used car like a Honda, Toyota, or even a Mazda. Cavaliers are cheap to begin with (just like when they are new), but from experience of myself and about a dozen friends, they are not worth the risk when they get a little older.
Aug 25, 2000 (1:44 pm)
In my opinion you will be very pleased with the Cavalier. Basic transportation, cheap price for a young person who doesn't want to pay for the over priced competitors. The Cavalier is just a basic car to get from A to B, built solid, overall reliable. Take it from a person who has owned Chevy all his life. My fiance just bought a 2000 about 4 months ago and we could not be any happier with this car it's quite fun to drive. Compare the number of happy Cavalier owners vs the unhappy ones and the numbers will tell you more people love their Cavaliers than those who don't. Just make sure you have a Mechanic check the car out and you will not go wrong. Good Luck!
Aug 25, 2000 (1:49 pm)
Don't think your experience is typical of most. The Cavalier is no super car, but it's got average reliability and presents great value. We are on our second Cavalier ( a '99 used as my wifes commuter car), and we have never had a problem.
Aug 25, 2000 (1:57 pm)
I think you should read the Edmunds.com 2000 Economy Sedan Review. Although the particular Cavalier you looked at didn't have looks trim pieces, look at the car that Edmunds got - brand new and the power window switches fell off. What are your main concerns when buying a car? If you want a safe car, don't look at the Cavalier, take a look at the poor offset crast tests done by the IIHS (www.iihs.org) and the poor side impact tests done by the NHTSA (www.nhtsa.dot.gov).
Aug 25, 2000 (2:08 pm)
The Edmunds review did not say that the power window switches fell off, they got PULLED off by the person reviewing the car just because they wanted to be stupid about the review. Remember this is a 17 year old who needs a basic car and the Cavalier will deliver with no problems. Good luck!
#219 of 2171 Malibu..
Aug 25, 2000 (2:44 pm)
Well, new drivers tend to be real hard on cars, and especially teenagers. Believe me, I am only 22 and remember being hard as hell on my first car. Everyone I know (around my age-- about 5 different people) all bought Cavaliers (1996-97) and they all blew head gaskets and fell apart within the past 3-4 years. A shame, because they are a nice car. And also, crash ratings and all are pretty bad too.
Aug 25, 2000 (4:43 pm)
The 2.2 engine on the base Cavalier definitely has had a checkered past with head gasket failures. However, you can get GM to fix the problem for free, if you know how to present the case to them. They often try to push aside people with newer models, but as far as I know, the head gaskets still haven't gotten any better.
Try to get the 2.4 if you can. It's pricier and probably more difficult for you to get, but I've never heard people complain about that one.
Aug 25, 2000 (4:48 pm)
I know but do you really sit there and pull things off your car? B pillars, headliners? I know about being hard on a car but picking it apart seems a bit too much. Head gaskets were a problem with the 2.2 engine ( not sure if I got the 2.2 right) but anyways as good and valid as your opinion is I have had totally the opposite experience with family and friends who bought Cavaliers and tehy are still going. What do you mean by "falling apart". Sorry but I do not consider a switch that is yanked out of place on purpose or a squeak when going over bumps a "falling appart " issue. Now the rust and the deterioration on early Honda Accords ( you still see them rusting away nowadays) is in MY opinion falling apart. Either way the Cavalier will be a good choice for a first car no doubt abaout it. Withthe money you save you will be able to get a nicer and more expensive car years down the road. In the end it's Matty's choice and so far I think he's made a great one. good LucK!
Aug 25, 2000 (8:39 pm)
If you consider rusting a valid falling apart issue, than what do you have to say about Chevy's well known rusting problem on their 80s-early 90s cars and trucks? Everyone knows, even Chevy lovers, that Chevy is a rust bucket. Their rust protection flat out sucks and the use of inferior steel shows itself. My Dad's 84 Chevy S-10 has been repainted many times and yet it still continues to have rust showing up around the windshield, doors, hood, and the bed (the bed support rods have almost completely deteriorated). Not to mention the gas tank rusted a hole right at the bottom 5 years ago. Just for comparison, my same year VW Rabbit has never rusted a hole through its gas tank to this day (and shows no sign of rust for that matter) and only has some minor rust on the inside rear quarter panel due to a sunroof leak that went on for many years.
Trim and other problems plague my dad's S-10. The window keeps popping off its track, requiring him to leave the door panel off in order to roll up and down the window. The famous cheap, loose Chevy door handles that continue to be used in some cars to this day. The driver's door has problems staying shut. The AC expansion valve, located deep inside the instrument panel, has blown 3 times, 2 of which happened a few days apart. The radio won't work due to some wiring problem. The exhaust manifold gasket is a known design flaw that requires replacement every year or it produces a bad exhaust leak. The brakes require a few inches of travel before they start to work, and than when they do, they bite very hard all of a sudden, causing more frequent unneeded lockup (a well known GM brake problem that they are only now beginning to get right). The only thing the damn truck has going for it is a reliable engine (though the carbureator is messed up, causing the idle to stick too high and requiring 4 tries to get it started when cold).
Anyway, I have to disagree with you about squeaks being a problem. If a car is not built solid enough to keep from sqeaking on a bump, than that lack of build quality will only continue to get worse wth age, leading to loose or broken trim pieces and other annoyances. GM needs to address their build quality issues. The whole reason my brother chose a Nissan Maxima over the Olds Intrigue was because he was concerned with the shoddy bild quality of the Intrigues he sat in. Examples: bare wires were showing as they went into the map lights at the rear seats, the front map light fell out as he went to turn it on, and the headliner was pulled loose where it connected to the side trim panels. These are minor problems but just imagine what happens as the car get older.