26th Dec 2004, 10:58

Actually the Toyota Cavalier never came to Australia and I'd assume the ones that made it to NZ were "grey imports" (i.e. already second-hand). There is one where I live (Australian external territory) and along with other US-bulit cars, the Cavalier apparently lacks the usual Japanese build quality (and they are extremely cheap at auctions in Japan, for that reason).

The parts/repair prices quoted in review seem excessive, it may be that the owner was ripped off, it seems to happen at times with unusual models, especially ones made in USA, mechanics can't be bothered to seek alternate or used parts.

13th Jun 2005, 01:59

The water pump price was cheap. I'm in the process of getting mine replaced. It's the 2.4 engine that does it. The 2.2 is real cheap. The 2.4 needs most of the front of the engine off, and new pump and new gasket set - my estimate from the mechanic was $1400 (about 16 hours labour).

19th Aug 2005, 08:21

I'm thinking of getting one of these cars.

For the money they seem very cheap/econonical.

I nwaqs concerned re this and I made enquiries.

Locally here in nZ my mechanic said they were OK, but labour was more costly due to the construction and parts can be a problem??

16th Sep 2006, 02:40

If your mechanic thinks that Cavaliers are OK I would suggest that you find another mechanic.

26th Nov 2006, 16:33

I live in the US and own both a Toyota Cavaliar and a US Pontiac Sunfire. The cars are great for the money and I have had little problems out of either. The suspension and brakes seems to be the weakest parts of the cars. The engines are built to last. I drove an Eagle Talon TSi AWD before these cars and replaced the engine and tranny before it was totaled along with many other problems.

6th Jan 2007, 16:57

Think I will stick to MADE IN JAPAN after reading this.

26th Jul 2007, 18:31

I've read all the warnings and horror stories about these cars. I've owned one for two years and am an older driver, so give it an easy life.

The only problem I've had is the dreaded driver's window not raising completely in one go. I have been told it's the thermal cut out, that cuts the motor off if something is in the gap as the window is going up. It's not the motor, so those people who get charged for a new motor at huge expense are being conned.

Sometimes, just lubing the tracks with silicone spray can fix or improve the problem, but if not, the cut out can be bypassed costing nothing, but a bit of work taking the door trim off. But of course this negates its safety purpose, so not a good idea if you have kids.

The water pump is a common problem and a major job, but it's a matter of finding someone who has done a few and the labour cost comes right down. I know a guy who has done 4 or 5 now, and he'll do the whole job, new pump included, for under $500 NZ... 7 hours labour.

These cars are common in NZ and cheap as dirt (you can now get a really nice one with low km's for around 3 grand), so plenty are available for parts, and I've never seen one with even a spot of rust. If you're prepared to hunt around a bit for used parts sources (they exist) and find a mechanic who knows them, you can live with their little 'issues' for way less money than the depreciation on cars that are more expensive, but not as powerful or solid.

18th Mar 2009, 20:06

I bought my 1997 Cavalier at an auction very cheap, just over NZ$4000 and it was the best car buy of my life.

More than three years later I only have two problems with it. Two of the windows won't wind up in one go. I have been told it is the controller that limits the current to the window motor. Happy to hear that these can be by-passed, will do so.

Recently, the radiator fan stopped switching on, not a big problem, only when you are in a big queue on a hot day.

After 12 years there is no sign of rust, the car still looks and feels very good.