1982 Chevrolet Cavalier 1.8 liter from North America
Very costly to keep on the road
I've had to replace the clutch 4 times. 3 out of the 4 times the clutch failed, it was sudden and without warning. The disk itself wasn't the problem. Throwout bearings wouldn't last and one time the clutch fork just simply broke, ruining everything in the bell housing. I had to get an expensive new clutch fork from the dealer.
The alternator had to be replaced several times, and constant problems with the electrical system.
The car had a bad habit of breaking belts.
Fuel system never worked right. It was a 2 staged carbureted fuel system. After a while the 2nd stage didn't work (when you press the fuel pedal more than halfway) and cause the car to surge. I rigged the carburetor so the 2nd throttle plate doesn't open.
The steering was very stiff despite having power steering.
The performance was terrible. The car had very poor power and took forever to get up to highway speeds. I needed to downshift every time I went uphill. On the freeway at 65, going up 5% grades with the fuel pedal to the floor, the car would slow to 45 then I would downshift and hold at 45.
No problems with the engine itself, since it was newly rebuilt when I bought the car. The carburetor was fairly new also, but it soon developed problems.
Air conditioning was excellent.
When I first bought the car, though it never was a strong performer; it started and ran flawlessly at all times and I was positively impressed. But that didn't last long until it complained about having to run. Any car can run great when it's new. What has to be considered is how well the car in question will still run 50,000 miles down the road.
I will have to say that this was the worst car I've ever owned, and it was very costly to keep this car in good repair.
This first year model Cavalier should never have been released to the public. Many other owners of this first year model complained to me about it's problems. I've had an fuel injected 1983 model that was much better. They should had waited until next year to release the Cavalier to the public. Despite the problems I've had with my 1982 Cavalier, I have no problems buying Chevy cars. Incidentally, the best car I've ever owned did happen to be a Chevy, a Lumina.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 5th November, 2003
Fuel injection is a dramatic improvement over carburetors. As you recommend, I too would especially stay away from any circa '80s electronically controlled carburetor abominations. The only time I could see a carburetor is in a classic car, to maintain the authenticity and feel of the car. Carburetors themselves are fascinating devices and can still be fun in the right applications, but for everyday drivability, reliability and economy, fuel injection is far superior. I personally find it easier to troubleshoot and work on too.