Excellent, especially if well-taken care of
Most things were general maintenance: tires, windshield wipers, alignment adjustments, brake pads, muffler once.
~175,000 miles the bearings went on the front wheels and had to be replaced.
About 185,000 miles, I lost control of the power steering suddenly while making a left turn one day. Took some muscle, but was able to steer the rest of the way home. One mechanic shop tried to tell me it was the steering rack, but two others recommended replacing the steering pump with a rebuilt one. Solved the problem right away.
Somewhere around 200K, the cooling system started to be this vehicle's Achille's Heel.
Over the next year or so, I replaced (or had replaced by a shop) the upper & lower hoses, the radiator (2X -- but this was my own fault as the first one was a cheap mail order thing), water pump.
But as I gradually replaced the parts that kept developing leaks, things still ran OK. Just had to watch the heat gauge whenever sitting in traffic.
~210K, I blew an intake gasket. Found this out because I kept losing coolant, but could not detect an external leak for the life of me. Worried, because it meant I most likely had an internal leak between systems.
Paid the ~$800 for it because I just loved that car.
Fortunately, I inadvertently hadn't done much damage to the engine, because I started putting straight water instead of coolant/water mix into the reservoir due to the high cost of coolant. Turns out the lesser corrosivity of the water probably spared my engine quite a bit!
A year later, gasket blew again. I was at 215K and other things were going wrong, too. Some just maintenance, some more hefty. The combo of the ever-failing cooling system and other issues on a high-mileage car made me decide to finally move on.
I absolutely LOVED this car. And was pleasantly surprised by it.
Drove it from early 2000 through Oct. 2006. It was a dealer's car, then my mom's, then mine. Guess it helps with any car knowing the service history from day 1.
Things I liked:
It looks like a "granny" sedan to some degree, but the models with the V6, 3.1L had some awesome power.
Acceleration & speed maintenance were unexpected, but outstanding. Ease of handling -- both steering and with the automatic transmission -- were excellent.
After this car, I bought a 4cyl. Cavalier and it felt so incredibly strange to have to put the gas pedal almost to the floor to get it to go. This after the Corsica, where subtle control of the gas pedal allowed for smooth shifts to higher speeds.
I felt incredibly comfortable in this car. I don't care for the big rage over bucket seats, so mine -- which seemed almost a hybrid between old-school bench seats and the newer bucket -- suited me fine. I'm tall, but actually tend to drive a bit bent-legged. In other words, I fit perfectly into the front.
Didn't sit in the back enough to judge that well, but never had complaints from occasional passengers.
Doing music at night & on weekends, I always had plenty of room in the back & trunk for my gear.
Loved taking long trips with this vehicle. The power, comfort, and reliability was unmatched in anything I had up to that point.
Case in point, once took a trip out to Western Pa with a bunch of friends. One had a brand new VW they were going to use, but it kept ending up in the shop, so my old ~150K (at the time) reliable Corsica went in its stead.
Overall, an unassuming car. But don't let it fool you. I drive hard, commute, put a lot of miles on (both highway and city driving); and the car could take a beating.
Then, when it would have issues, I could still temporarily tweak it until I could get it into the shop (and I'm NOT a mechanic, just an informed driver). In other words, even at high miles, it never left me more than just temporarily stranded.
I loved my '95 that I had for 5 years so much, I just did something completely crazy.
Timing belt broke & snapped a rod on my 2003 Cavalier. Due to the miles on the Cavy, I decided to look around.
Planned on a newer car, but also -- always keeping my options open -- looked to see if there were any Corsicas around. Despite being last produced in 1996.
Is it crazy to buy a '96 in 2010?
Well, if you find a low mileage, well-kept one for sale -- as I did -- I highly, highly recommend it.
All the Corsicas need is a little bit of attention and TLC, and they'll last quite a long time.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 20th December, 2010