2003 Chevrolet Cavalier Base 2.2 ecotech from North America

Summary:

Good and terrible

Faults:

Power window motor in driver's door replaced twice.

Clear coat crumbling off.

Front lower control arms.

Front wheel bearings.

Short in tilt steering caused a lot of needless replacements.

Speakers are going.

Poor wiring.

General Comments:

I waited for GM to use the SAAB motor before buying my car. Being a mechanic, I knew about their reliability, and that GM parts are readily available, so it sounded like a good deal.

The GM part of the equation ruined it. The new design for the front suspension is terrible! Clunks, bangs and loose bolts from the factory. I have been saying for years that I should have just bought a SAAB.

Driver's door power window motor failed twice (made in USA).

Passenger side motor still working strong (in the driver's door).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 1st February, 2011

6th Feb 2011, 17:14

GM never used a SAAB motor in the Cavalier.

18th Jan 2013, 19:37

Well, it's more like really that the SAAB's used Chevy Ecotec motors. Pop the hood on a SAAB, and it says Ecotec. Same family of motors - but in some SAAB models the engines have been modified with turbochargers. But, yes, as soon as GM bought SAAB in 1990, they began putting their Chevy Ecotec 4-cylinders in them. They also used the same automatic transmissions as used in GM cars.

So, people who bought SAABs thinking they were getting something special, were actually driving the basic GM economy car with a different skin and interior.

2003 Chevrolet Cavalier LS 2.2 ECOTECH from North America

Summary:

Very reliable for an inexpensive car

Faults:

Fuel pump at 126000. Plastic interior parts fail.

General Comments:

I have owned 4 Cavaliers. Still own 3.

The 2003 currently has 326000 miles, the other 2 around 125000. Very reliable 2.2 ecotech tranny.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th January, 2011

2003 Chevrolet Cavalier from North America

Summary:

You get what you pay for

Faults:

Radiator was punctured because of a protective steel bar (ironic), and had to be replaced, and the black paint job has faded badly over most of car.

General Comments:

The engine and transmission perform well, and with even minimal care, will probably last to the 200k mark; maybe longer. It is an economical car to own and operate. I have owned this car for about 5 years, and it has traveled many miles.

That being said, the car exterior and interior are cheap, cheap, cheap. The black paint has faded badly on mine, making it look years older than it really is, and a lot of the interior has started to crack or break.

If you are looking for a 1st car to own, or a cheap commuter car, or maybe a college student looking for a economical ride, then this might be the car for you. Otherwise, my advice is spend a couple of thousand dollars more, and upgrade to something with a little more style.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st November, 2010

2003 Chevrolet Cavalier Base 2.2L DOCH 4 cylinder Ecotec from North America

Summary:

Good for the money!

Faults:

There were two issues when I purchased it, and they were both checked. The rear struts were developing a squeak, but the mechanic verified that it would not affect the car on a mechanical level.

The other issue was the weather stripping in the driver side window, creating a "blowing" sound, which was a $100 fix at the GM dealer.

The car started developing a "brake shake", which meant the rotors had to be replaced. They were replaced about a week after it was discovered, that was done at 135,000 km.

General Comments:

I am a relatively new driver, only had my license for five years. I used to drive a small tin can (Chevy Sprint) for a few years before wear and tear got ahead of it. I purchased my Cavalier in 2009, it only had 113,000 km on it, paid about $3800 for it, and I never regretted the purchase since. It had its own bumps and squeaks, but it was easy to put up with them knowing that it was not going to affect the car on a mechanical level.

The car itself was a base model, it only had the basics. It had no tilt steering (wasn't required), roll-down windows, AM/FM radio, no A/C (who needs A/C when you got "260" air conditioning -- 2 windows open at 60 mph). It was relatively comfortable to sit in the driver's seat. The material for the seats is not the best material, but it is effective material. There were no tears, no stains, no damage. The car was in immaculate shape, save for the one small scratch on the driver side passenger door.

The engine on the car is great. It is a 4 cylinder 2.2 L Ecotec engine. It gives me the power I need, when I need it, and it is great on gas. The gas tank is 53 liters (according to the manual, I have yet to put more than 50 liters in on a fill-up), and I am able to drive about 600 km on a full tank before having to fill up. Driving strictly on the highway, and I am able to get over 800 km to the tank.

Just this past summer, I drove form my home in Central British Columbia to Vancouver via Coquihalla Highway, and the car performed magnificently. I was able to get 38 miles to the U.S. gallon (3.78 L) or 47 miles to the British gallon (4.55 L). The Coquihalla highway is an intense highway, and almost everyone goes higher than the posted speed, and the car handled perfectly. It did really well driving at speeds of 120 kph to 140 kph, and also did well at 160 kph. It also did great on some of the U.S. roads, such as the I-5 going into Seattle.

Now the car has about 140,000 kph on it. I am hoping to do the brakes and tires in the spring, as well as the rear struts. The car handles better than expected in the winter time, and has not failed me yet. For the price of the car, it was well worth the purchase. It is mechanically sound, and I have no doubt that it will make 300,000 km.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th September, 2010