2003 Chevrolet Cavalier LS 2.2L Ecotec L61 from North America


Great Little Car


The Stop/Tail/Turn lamps used to blow pretty frequently. There was a recall issued for this, and it turns out it was because of a lack of heat reducing/bulb grease installed on the bulb contacts, and sockets at the factory. Make sure to grease the bulb contacts, and bulb sockets when replacing the bulbs, if not done already.

The brake pads needed to be replaced at about 64,000 miles, which is to be expected of a car of this age and mileage.

The master power window control switch went buggy on me, and had to be replaced. It would only work some of the windows, some of the time, etc. So, a quick trip to the junkyard yielded a replacement out of a wrecked Cavalier of the same model year. Very cheap, and easy fix.

Other than that, she's doing pretty well.

General Comments:

Starts up everyday, and gets me where I need to go. That's all I ask of it, and it's been doing very well.

It has a really nice sounding factory audio system. It's the single CD unit, with RDS (Radio Data System). While completely not needed, it is kind of cool how it displays traffic information, and/or song titles and artists when you're listening to the radio. I see no need to upgrade to an after market system, when this one sounds so good, and has the neat features that it does.

Having had all cars with OHV motors before this one, the DOHC layout of the Ecotec is a treat. The car does tend to lag when it's cold, but does fine once warmed up. It zips right along on the highway, and gets up to passing speed effortlessly, and is pretty fun to drive, overall.

I do wish the gage cluster included an oil pressure and volts gage, but the Fuel/Temp/Speed/Tachometer combo is fine, and looks great. I really like how the gages are back-lit. Having had mostly older cars, I hadn't really been introduced to this yet.

Overall fit and finish is alright. There are some cheap feeling aspects of it, flimsy interior trim in spots, but it is an economy car, after all. The LS trim does tend to take away from some of the cheapness.

If you only have a few thousand to spend, and you need something that's not to small, gets decent fuel mileage, and should last you a while, these cars are the way to go. The Phase 3, 3rd generation J-bodies (2003-2005) are better than the earlier versions, due mainly to the drive-line, and they should serve you well. Also, try to get an LS or an LS Sport model. The interior in these is trimmed a bit nicer than the base model.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st October, 2007

2003 Chevrolet Cavalier VL 2.2L from North America


It has its goods and its bads


The cable for the HVAC control has broken a few times, so it has gotten stuck on vents. It was a real nuisance in the winter when I had to blast hot air out of the face vents to keep the windows de-fogged.

The driver's side sun visor would not stay in place. I.e. it would swing back and forth on the hinge, and right down onto the windshield. Quite distracting.

As well, the push switch that turns off the radio when you open the door sticks. Not such a huge issue, but it's still something that's gone wrong.

General Comments:

I suppose this would be a fine commuter car, but I find I am left wanting more.

The power steering feels very heavy in comparison to my 17 year old Corsica and my 2000 Venture.

The brake pedal is very far back from the gas, and the brakes are very sensitive.

The seats are comfortable for short distances, but I find I am shifting around a lot when I drive for a long time.

The car will do what you ask, but it does not feel willing. You have to really push it when accelerating to pass or onto the freeway.

On the plus side, the headlights are very bright and cover a wide area, and the stereo (speakers, at least) produces excellent sound, especially bass, and the air conditioner is cold right from the start.

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

Review Date: 26th August, 2007