2003 Chevrolet Cavalier Reviews - Page 11 of 14

2003 Chevrolet Cavalier 2.2 Ecotech from North America

Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 2.2 Ecotech Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired21 kilometres
Most recent distance20000 kilometres
Previous carChevrolet Cavalier

Summary:

Not a bad car for the price

Faults:

Leak in rear trunk seal - dealer fixed this within half a day. (Had water accumulating in the trunk). Never happened again. Replaced the front tires at 12,000 KM. I tend to drive hard and the 140 HP Eco tech makes it easy to smoke tires. :)

General Comments:

First off, this is my second Chevy Cavalier.

The first one, a 2000, was quite similar to this car. When GM made the 2003 Cavalier, they made a few new things - better engine, modified front and rear appearance, and bigger tires. All are positive improvements to the car.

Performance.

This car is not a sports car. It is not meant to be riced but can be.

However, the Cavalier 0-60 time with the 2.2 DOHC Ecotech engine puts out a 140 HP and over 140 lbs of torque. This car can almost (.2 sec) beat a Civic Si. Throw in an after-market Super charger and cold-air intake, I dare say you would have a 200+ HP sleeper car. (Available at any GM dealership).

Torque steer is a big problem with engines that have 100+ hp. The Cavalier is no exception. If you want to burn a set of tires quickly, rev the engine to 5,000 up a hill. The tires will smoke.

Comfort.

The car's seats are horrible. They're fine for short trips. But forget it if you want lumbar support. They aren't' cutting it. Buy a new seat or consider a different car if seating is real important to you. Me, I can tolerate a bad seat, I've owned and ridden in too many bench-seat pick up trucks to care.

Back seat leg room is as to be expected. Trunk space is very large. The cargo net comes in handy. The air conditioning is exceptionally powerful.

My only complaint is that the A/C is always on when you choose to defrost the windows. The only exception to this rule is when the temperature sensor detects it's below freezing outside, it doesn't pump out cold air.

Handling.

The car lumbers through corners, but is fairly quick. It's very easy to skid the car on hard accelleration (make the tires yell). If you do get one, make sure the tires are 15 inches at least. They make a huge difference in road handling. Oh and the factory tires are just garbage. They don't last and tend to be really soft.

Fuel economy.

Fairly good. Not great, but hey, it's good enough for me. I don't' need an extreme gas-sipper YET.

Reliability.

Not bad. I haven't had any problems with the car except for a minor trunk leak. I replaced the front tires because I burned through the el-cheapo factory ones at 10K. I change the oil regularly, and it so far hasn't let me down.

Overall.

Not a bad cheap car. It could be worse. The stereo is a bit old, circa 1998, but, it works. I will eventually buy this car out due to the fact that I am a bit hard on vehicles. No problem. My next vehicle will be a different style though, I need something different...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th November, 2004

18th Jan 2005, 10:49

At least you ADMIT you are hard on vehicles at the end of your review. It certainly sounded that way as I was reading though it. I would not go talking badly about the tires not lasting past 10K when you readilly admit to "smoking" them up hills. I have a '03 Cavalier that just turned 23K miles (no problems), and the tires still have plenty of life left in them. I cannot understand the mentality of wanting to beat a car the way you describe. But, good luck none-the-less.

2003 Chevrolet Cavalier VL 2.2 Ecotech from North America

Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 2.2 Ecotech Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.4 / 10
Distance when acquired15 kilometres
Most recent distance85000 kilometres
Previous carSaturn LS

Summary:

A low cost, fuel efficient commuter car

Faults:

No major faults.

General Comments:

Given the cost of this vehicle, $12600 (+tax) it has been well worth the money.

The brakes were very noisy from new, they sounded like they already had 40000km on them. The dealer agreed to machine them 1 month after purchase at about 5000km. After this was done there was no difference in the noise from the brakes and the dealer later indicated this was normal on this car. Rotors only lasted 75000km and since they were replaced by premium after market rotors the noise problem is gone.

The location of the emergency brake and cup holders make the drivers side cup holder almost unusable, any cup with a handle ends up getting caught on the emergency brake. The location of the heater controls means that cups in the cup holder block access making it difficult to adjust the inside temperature. The drivers side manual remote wing mirror control is very flimsy and makes adjusting the mirror difficult.

The engine has gotten a lot louder, now sounding a bit like a diesel, but gas mileage and power are still fine.

Wind and tire noise at highway speeds are rather loud, making it necessary to speak loudly in order to have a conversation with a passenger.

Having said all this I have driven 85000km (all highway) in 18 months and the only money I have spent is on oil changes, gas and brakes.

This car is very good value.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th July, 2004

Average review marks: 7.3 / 10, based on 45 reviews