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I have owned three cavaliers and I would have to say they are my favourite ever car, and I have had lots. I currently drive an Astra (1995 vintage) and it shares many of the qualities I loved about the Cavaliers. I drove each of them into the ground (our house is where cars come to die) but I did so many super comfortable miles in them first. Good build quality, comfortable seats and fabulous drive experience make these such a good all-rounder. I've managed to get 3 kids, and more luggage than you can shake a stick at in all of them and the mileage has still been good. I used to spend half my life on the M4 and I don't think I ever needed breakdown for any of them. Since they were old (all over 10yrs) when I got them I think that's pretty good. I never felt they owed me anything when they went (2 by theft and one spectacular MOT fail) and parts are cheap and easily available. The only thing I disliked about them is they were so easy to steal we started to call it the 'Vauxhall Takeaway', as you could never be sure it would still be where you parked it. One went 5 times in 2 months. I daresay there are after-market methods of preventing this. Apart from that, can't beat them, brilliant car.
I've got a M reg 1994 Cavalier 2.0 16v Auto Saloon, had it about three years, there were a few problems with the engine management system always cutting in but that turned out to be a faulty wire, however it is a pretty good car overall for the money, I bought it for £400. The CDX model is near top of the range so it has electric everything from windows, sunroof even elcetric heated mirrors, the air con needed topping up but once that was sorted it was fine. The engine although can be riddled with problems if you get a dud is fine and developes 136 BHP, it is pretty nippy as well with a 0-60mph in 8 seconds, in straight line speeds it is better than a similarly aged Mondeo however the Mondeo has better handling and also a better driving position, mine is 15 years old and not a spot of rust and still looks good. I have previously owned a Mondeo and I think the cars are very close although the Mondeo is overall a better car as it was designed about 6 years after the MK 3 Cavalier, however if I had the choice I'd probably go for a newer Mondeo however the top of the range Cavs are much better than the horrid Vectras that came along a year or so after.
Had a 1995 'N' plate cav 1.8 'Classic' edition. Oh it really was a 'classic', it had an 8v engine and I had bought this car as a short runaround in between cars and I really wish I hadn't.
I had the car 3 months and had to replace/fix the following
Cam Cover Gasket
Fix the bonnet release cable because too slack
Car was not very reliable to start with and was glad to see the back of it, I did only pick it up for £350, but cavaliers don't sell for much more than that these days. It wasn't very fast at all and provided no real driver feedback, it handled the road like a barge and bounced up and down like a pogo stick over bumps. I will never buy a cavalier again and probably not a vauxhall even though some of the newer models look quite nice. Im just not a Vauxhall person. Im sure the SRI/GSI models provide more excitment, but i prefer things like EVO's and Seat Leon's.
I wouldn't really recommend this car to anyone, It was worse than my Rover 400
cavaliers - i love em my first was an immaculate Mk1 1979 1600GL with very plush seats. this car was so under rated. Since then I have had two Mk 2's a paprika orange 1983 GL hatchback and a 1985 white GL saloon. Also 2 mk 3's a 1994 1.8LS (was a bit of a nightmare for overheating) My current car was a relations from new and is a 1991 1.8 GL saloon. I have had it for four years now and it has sailed through all mot's. I am hanging on to this one as the wheel arches are not rusty and i love driving this car which gets hammered regularly from essex to bedford and the awful job of pulling our caravan without complaint. Now i have praised it - it will go wrong????? cheap family quality car - get one!!!! brett
Although I am a fan of Cavaliers in every shape & form, its the Mk2 (1981-1988/9) that is THE ONE. I worked for a large South London Vauxhall dealer in the mid-nineties & did see quite a few Cavvys in the workshop so got to know them inside out. In 1996 bought my first mk2, a white 2 litre CDi saloon. Just 75,000 on the clock and incredibly reliable & fast!!. Unfortunately got written off not long after I bought it and it wasn`t until Dec 2002 that i bought an absolute gem!! A mint one owner 1984 Mk2 SRi hatch in anthracite metallic grey, immaculate recaro interior, and just an amazing 19000 miles on the clock!!! i still have this car today & don`t ever intend on parting with it. It now has just turned 50000 miles and has never let me down. I service mine twice a year with Vauxhall parts & mechanically its completely sorted. Spent a fair bit on it over the past 4 years, 4 new shox, 4 new tyres, new wheel bearings, new clutch-the list goes on but its worth it!!!. Read in the Sun newspaper recently that out of the 850,000 sold in this country only about 6500 are still registered today!! Shame, but thats the way of things.
I currently own two 2.0 16v SRis;
One is the mighty C20XE redtop version and the other is the X20XEV ecotec version.
The redtop has the most of everything but it's all at the top of the rev range, meaning you have to be going fast to get the best out of it - whilst fun at speed, it doesn't really appreciate being pootled around town.
The ecotec has the better torque spread and is more useable in an everyday sense; a good 4-2-1 manifold puts it on a level playing field with the redtop, with this it will compete competently with it from standstill all the way up to the top of mid-range; from here the redtop's lumpier cams will edge it away from the ecotec. The milder cams do however make the ecotec more useable and unlike the redtop it will glide you around town.
Both cars have been lowered 40mm to rid them of that awful high, floaty production suspension setup and service/maintenance-wise they both get the same of everything, from tyres and brakes to fluids and fuel type. Both are driven the same way without any preference but as stated, the single biggest factor to level the playing field between the two units was the removal of the asthmatic lump of ironmongery that Vauxhall call an exhaust system from the ecotec - it truly strangled it's potential; whereas the redtop pulled you, you had to push the ecotec to get anything out of it. Both cars now have comparable manifolds feeding LongLife sports cats and free-flow systems.
Maintenance-wise, they both have their strengths and weaknesses; the redtop can suffer from 'porous head' whereby oil can migrate through too-thin gallery partitions and contaminate the coolant. This is a known problem, well documented and I believe there are companies out there who can now deal with the problem with the head in place. Older engines can be a bit tappetty on start-up whilst oil reaches the valve lifters although this usually disappears once the engine is warm. Other than that, the redtop really is an animal and will - with good servicing and care - take a beating completely in it's stride every time. You'll smile as you make a mental note of how many times modern sports-hatch pilots underestimate the redtop...
The early ecotec was plagued with sensor problems, the principal culprit being the cam sensor. This has been rectified by Vauxhall with a newer, more robust unit but it needs to be wired into the existing loom. The crank sensor can also go but really isn't any worse than any other manufacturers' crank sensors. Another worry is the tendency of the head gasket to fail between 70 and 100,000 miles, fortunately these engines are pretty easy to work on and a head gasket should be within the expertise of a reasonably competent DIY'er.
Having removed the external differences, it's interesting to note the way the engine differences have been highlighted; the redtop now surges relentlessly to it's formidable top end whilst the ecotec has a sparkling mid-range performance, a real firecracker.
Bang-for-buck, these cars are difficult to beat. I've owned both over a year now, and it's still special getting into them, even just for work, where they roster on a week on/week off basis. Build quality already mentioned, but when you consider they're now cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, easy to maintain (mostly), huge fun when you're out on your own and extremely practical if you're carting the family around it's hard to find anything better for the money.
Immensely tuneable, they can be worked to really annoy Impreza and Evo pilots.
Late-build cavs enjoy better build quality than early-build, go for something unmolested with the all-too-familiar rear arches intact and brace yourself for high-octane, cheap fun - these cars didn't dominate BTCC for half of the 1990s for nothing...
in the last year i have had 3 cavaliers the first was a 2.0i auto that was given to me with the head gasket gone it had tax and mot and i still got 2000 miles out of it b4 i had to scrap the old girl. the second was a 1.8 L i paid 100 pounds for the old girl again with tax and mot she had 160k miles on the clock and never missed a beat in fact i scrapped her today because there was no way she was going through another mot, now on to my 3rd and man am i impressed ive got the 2.0 sri with full engine service history a brand new tank and rear exhast again with tax and mot and i payed 200 pounds for her ive had many cars new and old but for the money and condition my god i got a deal. there are however a few things u should be carefull about when bying a cav most will have rust on the rear wheel arches, and thay do tend to go through rocket cover gaskets but both are easily and cheaply sorted, the cav is a great and cheap family car and the sri is very impressive. hope this helpes
How can you people be serious?. Man, Vauxhall making any cars besides the VX220 (which is taking form Lotus)are all ugly and pretty uneventful. What pleasure can you get from a car that gives you no input, you might as well be sitting on a cushioned Log going down the road.
A good car looks good drives well is for EG Alfa 156, even Peugeot 406. come on people, liven up.
there are many more cars out there that are so much more exciting to drive and able to satisfy your requirements
*** Vauxhall Cavalier Updated Review for 2006 *** I know a lot of reviews here are getting quite dated so I thought I ought to put my two penneth worth in to bring things up to date. I have owned and driven Cavaliers for over ten years, they were and still are great cars, I am referring to the last model the MKIII 1988 1996 model. I have owned 3 and I can confirm that they honestly are one of the best cars ever produced in terms of reliable, functional and affordable motoring. I have owned a 1.6L G reg saloon which I bought for £300 ten years ago which was stolen but never broke down in 3 years of owning it, next I inherited a 1.6 F Reg GLI hatchback which only ever needed a brake change in over 5 years of driving, my current Cavalier is an L Reg 1.8 Lsi hatchback, I love this car it cost me £200 6 months ago and that included 9 months MOT and 6 months tax which was worth £90 alone, so the car only cost me £110! You couldnt even hire a car for a week for that! My current cavalier is in MINT condition, I didnt have to look hard to find a decent bargain, in fact you could buy much cheaper, but you can get some sheds as well, but basically for even the top model you wont have to pay over £500. My 1.8Lsi has metallic silver paint, body coloured bumpers, electric windows, power steering, airbags, immobiliser, its an absolute pleasure to drive, I have done and still can do 130 mile per hour in it in between Leeds and York on the A64 which is totally flat. Plus for a full sized petrol car it does remarkably good MPG. ON the motorway it does as well if not better than a tinny 1.1l hatchback that has to screw its nuts off to reach 80mph. The cavalier 1.8 LSi will reach 80mph without even breaking a sweat, even on the long uphill stretched of the M1. My girlfriend was a bit scared cos she thought it would be hard to drive cos she is only used to driving small cars but cos of the power steering its as easy to drive as a corsa that is without power steering. I have driven over 50,000 miles in all my cavaliers and always in comfort due to the stability of driving a real car as opposed to a tin can that can get blown all over the road or has a heart attack cos you drive over a grate! Even if you are reading this in 5 years time (2011) you will still be able to pick up some decent Cavs, mine is over ten years old and when I do the monthly valet / wax / polish it still looks like a new car. I am however going to sell my cav soon as I need a larger vehicle, but the logical progression is that I am going to buy a Vectra estate, a car built around the same body as the cavalier, and indeed the European name for the cavalier, its just a shame they never released a estate version of the MKIII Cavalier otherwise I would be sticking with the Cavalier for its simplicity in engine management. There are still some blinding Cavaliers for sale out there, if I was going to get another I would be hunting down a decent, unthrashed V6 4x4 or SRI or the holy grail of Cavaliers, the GSI2000, not many of these left that havent been screwed !! If you want a reliable , cheap to run, all the mod cons motor you wont go far wrong than to pick up a MKIII Cavalier for £100 - £400, forget escorts, fiestas, even mondeos, they are rust buckets and rot boxes. Plus forget any foreign muck, they arent worth a cent used, plus the premium you pay for parts is ridiculous as I learnt to my dismay when I made the mistake of once buying a second hand VW Golf... never again! A new exhaust fitted on a Cavalier wont cost you more than £40 !! My gearbox cost £60 plus £30 fitting, plus the scrap yards are full of virtually free parts. As was the marketing phrase for the MKIII Cavalier, once driven, forever smitten no truer word was spoken! God bless everyone that created this marvellous machine! I thank you from the bottom of my heart for years of trouble free and thoroughly enjoyable driving. The Cavalier MKIII will forever have a fond place in mine and 1000's of other peoples memories. Happy Motoring!
The almighty Vauxhall Cavalier.Where do I start,well I'm a lifelong car obsessive.My folks tell me that when I was a baby they'd prop me up in my pram so I could watch all the cars drive past and I'd be happy for hours well my addiction just deepened ever since.From the age of about 5 it was all Ford,who couldn't fall in love with the MKI and MKII Escort. When I passed my test I bought a Ford and had countless more but no other make till desperation for a cheap car made me buy a Vauxhall Cavalier off a mate for £50.It was the start of a whole new obsesion.The car was a B-reg old MK2 CDi,gold with chocolate brown interior.The first thing that was obvious to a die hard car fanatic was how much more flexible,willing and free-revving not to mention down-right responsive the Cavy engine was compared to any CVH,Pinto or Cologne I'd ever encountered.Only the old Kent engine and the CVH out of an RS1600i came close.Then I began to notice the superior quality and the better laid-out and thought out construction of the whole car. At age 25 I forgot my 20 year old obsession with Ford and had a stream of MK2 Cavy's a black SRi,red SRi another red SRi ,a red SRi 130 ,another 130 then an ultra-rare Caliber(no not Calibre).I liked the styling,the handling was good but it was that engine that did it. Then 2 1/2 years ago I was passing a garage took a nose around and before I knew it I spent £3000 I didn't even have on an N-reg 16vSRi and even with the Ecotec engine she sang.She lept round the rev counter like a hamster on speed then when she hit 4000rpm she lifted up the bonnet and shot off for the horizon like a bullet.Even when Vauxhall build an emmissions engine it's still a piece of art. At this moment in time I've 6months to pay on her and am driving a Sierra(I never really got over the Ford thing)because the Cav's stripped down while I build a beast of an XE engine to go in it.Then I'll <br >have some real fun. She's debadged,slammed but sitting on the standard alloys she also has twin chrome tail pipes and I welded up a de-cat pipe. I can't say enough about these cars the MK3 is the pinnacle.I'm sorry to you Vectra owner but when they replaced the Cav they lost their way.It got fat,heavy and ugly.I also feel the same way about the Mondeo,like the Vectra nice if you like processed cheese and musak but just lacks character.The Mondy will never outshine the Sierra. One more interesting piont.I'm a car valetter,I clean cars at the Ford dealership were I work but restore paintwork mostly.The Cavaliers always come up amazing,I don't say that because of my bias,out of all the cars I've done Mercs,Jags,Bmws the lot the best car to leave the valet bay was a M-reg 1.8LX Cavy in red I'e never seen anything shine quite like it,except my Glacier White SRi and funny enough right next to it was a T-reg Vectra GSi and it was dull as ditchwater.Long live the almight Vauxhall Cavalier and it's 2.0 16v engine I'll just thought I'd add in some technical data and brief history etc.If some points are slightly out then that is because this stuff comes from deep down in the back of my head and have no reference books to hand so I appologize for any forthcoming errors. The first Mk1 Cavalier came out as a replacement for the Viva/Firenza model in 1975, along with the Chevette they were the first joint models launched by Opel & Vauxhall. Unusaul on our roads today,the first Cav was a RWD car and if you were to think of an Opel Manta but with 4 doors and a boot then your about there.Incidentely the was Cavalier Sport model that was virtually identical to the Manta.Taking the fleet market straight off of Morris's Marina and Hillman/Chrysler/Talbot's Avenger it never quite caught the evergreen Ford Cortina.Coming with a 1.3ohv(over head valve) a
nd 1.6,1.9,2.0ohc engine they're was a model for most needs.I would love to get a hold of one myself In the autumn of 1981 Vauxhall got one over on Ford,who's initially risky Sierra was still a year away, by launching the Mk2 - in 4 door saloon and 5 door hatchback which was considered to be well styled and modern.The new car had the engine mounted transversly and driving the front wheels,choice being either 1297cc or 1598cc both ohc(over head cam).1982 saw the introduction of the 1598diesel engine and the legendary 18E - (18SE from 1987) engine powering the new CDi and equally legendary SRi.This engine also found it's way to that other 80's champion Mk1,Mk2 Astra GTE amonst many others.An estate in '83,a convertible in '86 and the 1998cc 20NE -20SEH models later that year which provided the power,in 20SEH guise,for the dramatic SRi October '88 saw the release of the last model the Mk3.Though based on the same chassis as the Mk2 the Mk3 was much improved with the sharp 80's edges giving way to a more attractive curved design which as before came in 4dr or 5dr versions but no estate.This incarnation and the highest expression of the 3 versions boasted such highlights as the SRi,GSi,4x4 and my own SRi16v it also featured probably the best ever non-turbo charged 2ltr 16v engine the 'almighty XE' a masterpiece first seen in the Mk2 Astra GTE16v then the GSi2000 and GSi2000 4x4 before finding a place into the first 16v SRi.My 16v SRi has the later but emmisions concious X20 XEV Ecotec 16v which - - -IS a good engine but not as powerful at 136bhp as opposed to the XE's 150-156bhp.It also lacked in torque to the XE.I have an original GTE16v XE engine brewing and bubbling in my garage to be quietly slotted in to my SRi
cavalier 2.5 CDX 24v auto - Advantages: lots of car for little money,lots of extra's : air con,leather,a.b.s.,traction control,sports mode,all electrics, Wolf in sheeps clothing;in sports mode will change up to 4th at 120mph. 145@ 5100rpm.Engine BULLETPROOF ! , good suspension and comfort meaning those long drives are almost effortless. - Disadvantages: Hides its speed very well,so a few SP130[SPEEDING TICKETS] COULD BE ON THEREWAY., Does not handle like an SRI built more for comfort. , Regular trips to petrol station when giving it death.
I had an L-reg Cavalier 1.7TD LS as a company car for just over 2 years. During that time I worked as an engineer carrying tools and equipment all over the country on a daily basis in it. It had about 170'000 miles on the clock as it had already been used and abused by other engineers. Driving it was great, it was happy to cruise along all day and driving around 500 miles a day sometimes was no problem. The engine did lack power sometimes, especially going up gradients, but it was capable of holding its speed (unlike the non-turbo diesel cavaliers and astras ). I would say that the power was just right, any less and it would have struggled. Being a diesel it was nice in traffic too as you could pull away and coast along without touching the accelerator. When I gave the car back it had over 275'000 miles on the clock. As the car was being used for trade purposes and did such a high daily mileage the maintenance was obviously higher than if it was just used as a private car. It got through tyres and brake pads quite quickly. It didn?t start one morning though but this turned out to be a corroded earth strap which was easily repaired. The alternator had to be replaced and the accelerator cable snapped (roadside repair). And there was also a problem with the cooling fan coming on and staying on even with the keys removed. Brakes: This car lacked a brake pad wear indicator light. This meant the pads would start grinding on the discs without warning and the discs would need replacing also. The brake discs would also warp very easily. This was probably due to the car always carrying a load and the brakes being used so much. Being a diesel it is heavier than say the 1.6 petrol model but yet has the same vented discs on the front (and drums at the rear). It also lacked ABS. Engine: The compression started to go in the mornings and became a problem. This was sorted out at a diesel specialist for a couple of hundred pounds I believe
. Apparently the valves were working their way into the cylinder head. I believe this is simply because the engine had done such a high mileage. I once drove too fast through a puddle which turned out to be extremely deep! The engine seized up half way through it. When the breakdown patrol got there he warned me that the engine might be terminally damaged. Water had been sucked into the engine and in a diesel this is very bad apparently! After removing all the air intake pipes and pouring all the water out we pushed the car backwards but while in 4th gear. This pushed the water in the engine out the exhaust pipe. 5 minutes later the engine was running again just the same as it was before! Overall this car was great. It was battered about, did stupidly high miles, not looked after all that well, but just kept on going. Recommended!
This is my fourth Cavalier, so I must be getting used to them by now! The first was an '82 X reg Mk2 1.6 saloon which had brakes for decoration only and did 15mpg when I bought it, an excellent running(ish) restoration project which I paid £250 for and sold for £400! An Antibes limited edition - they only made about 15,000,000,000 :o) - followed, then a 2.0 litre L Mk3 blobby shaped model which went like the proverbial stuff off a stick. Student finances meant a cheap Orion (another good family car) was next before I rejoined the Cavalier owners' club earlier this year. It's a 1992 J reg 1.6 GL with all the extras - sunroof (which is fine on tilt but jams on slide, despite loads of oil/grease/WD40), nice stereo, electric aerial, heated mirrors, lumbar support on the front seats etc. It's dirt cheap on parts and economical on fuel (strangely, about the same mpg as the 2.0) and is reasonably quick for a bog standard family car, although the engine is leaking and burning oil and a new(er) one will be sourced soon. It hasn't been serviced as often as it should have been during its 115,000 miles, hence the state of the engine, and has a few other niggling faults. The aerial has been freed up but is still partially seized, the brake discs are slightly warped (someone's been using the footbrake instead of the handbrake!) and the timing belt cover and carburettor cover are not original (and bodged as well). Most problems are fairly easy to fix though. On dual carriageways and motorways it will happily do 70mph ('cos we don't want to become nefarious criminals by breaking the speed limit, do we?) with five people and a tank full of fuel in. The tall gearing comes into its own here as the (soundproofed) engine is still quiet at speed. The boot is almost the size of the Albert Hall, ideal for prams, shopping, tools, Rover gearboxes etc. All in all, an excellent car, especially if you like tinkering and don
9;t want something that stands out from the crowd.
ok then the vauxhall cavalier mk3 2.0 8v sri cav why do people hate them? well either because they havent owned one or they have been left standing by one at the lights. being the owner of a cavalier sri i have found it to be a truly perfect car for the following reasons: built like a tank, goes like a bmw, easy to work on, cheep parts, cheep to buy and easy to do up. and most of all a laugh to see other peoples faces when you leave them standing. now they also made the 16v sri which i have found to be very under powered compared to the 8v sri engine. now then the problems you will get with cavaliers (very comon ones) the top shock mounts go and you will get a rattle inside the car that you will be hunting down for years the fuel tanks always go at the seams after 12 years or more and most of all you will get boyracers in nova's thinking there better than you!! but on the upside the cavalier is a perfect car that can not be faulted yes you might have a few comon problems but notthing major. so what do i think of the cavalier?? well i have been nicked name cavsri cos i love them so much iv got a cavalier and iv also got a website devoted to mk3 cavs!!! basicly when your looking for a new car i would recomend the vauxhall cavalier sri.