1996 Opel Kadett 1.6IS from South Africa
Fantastic all rounder if maintained properly and regularly
For the 5 years I have owned the car - first week I had the car, the handbrake snapped, but this was the original cable since the car was manufactured.
It gets a little hot standing in traffic (hot or cold weather).
Brakes get very hot and warped on a mountain pass, so you get major shudder under heavy braking. I have had the wheels replaced, balanced and aligned, brake discs/pads skimmed, but this hasn't solved the problem.
Constant leak under all seals, even after every seal has been replaced twice by 2 different reputable mechanics.
Back tires at the bottom have a slight but noticeable outward canter, and it tends to wear the inside of the back tires faster; apparently it's quite common with these cars. Have had the suspension checked, nothing wrong.
Sump sweats. Eats coolant (cannot find any leaks anywhere, and the oil is not beige or pasty, so no seals in the motor have popped).
Gear selector pin self destructed (apparently also common with Opel, but easily remedied with a solid pin and nylock nut).
Replaced brake master cylinder twice.
Not a very happy car splashing in puddles, alternator belt squeals even after being replaced and tightened properly. Squeal also occurs vaguely when cold starting the car.
Any and all wiring in the car tends to rust/oxidize really easily.
May I suggest checking the cavity for the windscreen wiper motor, as it tends to gather lots of leaves and sand. Replaced windscreen wiper motor.
Bear in mind I look after my vehicles like they are my children. All these faults occurred because of age; this car is almost 20 years old, and most of the parts are still original from manufacture, excluding all basic wear and tear parts replaced during minor service. Quite surprising how long the parts actually last.
Despite all I have mentioned, these cars are almost bomb proof with very little maintenance. Very comfortable, light-ish on fuel if you don't have a lump of lead for a foot, easy to maintain, handling is great especially on wet roads and gravel for some reason. Very nippy; I get 140km/h at 3500 RPM and it sat happily there for an over 200km distance road trip there and back.
All round, for its age, a great little car, especially for a first car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 24th June, 2015