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.

General Comments:

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

1996 Opel Kadett 160is 1.6 from South Africa


Good, fuss free motoring


I had to replace a rather tired coolant pipe connecting the radiator to the engine block.

Changed the thermostat as the engine never reached normal operating temperature.

General Comments:

Treated it to an engine oil change and have had many kilometers of trouble free driving.

Great interior ergonomics and comfy seats! I would really like aircon though as it gets hot in the S. A summer.

Lack of power steering only becomes a problem when at parking speeds.

The 1.6 engine is really good for its size-nice low torque peak gives a 0-100kph time of about 10.5 seconds. Very easy to wheel-spin!

Cruises nicely on the highway-140kph at 4000rpm gives good economy.

Handling feels a bit blunt after my GTI 16v-but still good fun to chuck around suburban roads. Just be careful!

Overall a nice car to drive and cheap to maintain-interior holds a lot of stuff and the boot can pack an entire PA system.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th November, 2004

12th Sep 2008, 12:26

I don't like the car (1996 Kadett). Since I bought mine as a new model, it has spent more time getting worked on than driven. This vehicle has cost me a fortune; I am however still driving my old 1992 Kadett, and all I have to do to that car is put petrol in the tank. The older Kadett is more reliable.

15th Apr 2010, 13:09

1996 160is.

Mine started rusting recently. Bought it 2nd hand maybe 8 years ago.

If you buy this car, make sure it has the black line spoiler on the boot. I would assume that's the faster version.

Very good torque for a 160. Gears stretch, 1st: 60km, 2nd: 101km, 3rd: 142km, 4th: 180km, 5th about 205km (on speedometer). Makes me wanna buy a 200is.

Stayed with a 1997 rsi in a dice before approaching top speed.

Cheap to run, very light on petrol.

Indicator broke, cambelt problems. But the engine is great along with the gearbox.

217k done, and tend to have heavy foot at least once a week.