1990 Vauxhall Cavalier L 1.6 from UK and Ireland


Good, reliable, cheap and spacious family car


Bought with an apparent ignition fault which turned out to be false. The problem was a botched cylinder head gasket replacement where silicone gasket had been used liberally and blocked the oil way to the camshaft and valve lifters. The head was stripped down, cleaned and rebuilt with new lifters. Perfect.

Clutch went at 100000 miles.

Automatic choke stayed on. Bi-metallic coil in choke bell housing rotated in its mounting instead of operating the choke. Took 8 weeks to find problem.

General Comments:

28mpg around town, 38mpg on a run.

The ride is a bit harsh and it handles averagely.

Spares are very cheap and you can just about service this car yourself.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th November, 2002

1990 Vauxhall Cavalier GL 1.8 petrol from UK and Ireland


Excellent bargain


My head gasket blew at 97,254 miles.

My head gasket blew again at 100,781 miles.

Timing belt snapped at 98,635 miles.

Radiator started to leek at 97,297 miles.

Alternator backed up 4 times.

Starter motor has packed up 9 times.

Regulator rectifier replaced at 29/09/2002.

Recently started to leek through boot and back window.

General Comments:

Apart from all the problems I have had with my Vauxhall cavalier it is a very reliable car and a good run-about.

Its very cheap to run. I get about 30-45mpg.

Very good in low or high gears.

Lacks power when a full tank of petrol is on board, so my advise is never fill it over half a tank.

Responds with the slightest touch off the accelerator.

I like the feel off the clutch (very smooth) its has a nice 5-speed gear-box changes gear with out no problems.

Power steering is a bonus helps to drive the car better since it is an heavy car.

The cabin is in very good condition still not a single scratch or rip anywhere.

I only paid £200 excellent bargain I sure got my moneys worth.

Its on a h-reg 1990 no rust anywhere all been re-stored.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th October, 2002

1990 Vauxhall Cavalier GL 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland


Safe conveyance


The car has been absolutely fine to drive. However it is extremely expensive to run and is noisy.

I found it nippy at first, but it is too heavy to perform well.

I conclude that the cavalier is like a newer car inside.

It was well built, I crashed mine in to a tree at 40mph and although the car suffered I walked away. Having Narrowly missed a lamp post!

Very strong car!

Heavy to steer, but underrated because it is quite cool!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th September, 2002

1990 Vauxhall Cavalier L 1.8 from UK and Ireland


Mileage muncher and great value!


Usual things, head gasket, water pump, radiator fan, fuel pump, distributor. Most things replaced as consumables. Frequent oil changes and filter, new exhaust box (several) and clutch.

General Comments:

Done me proud, but must be getting towards the end of its life now. Still drives well, bit smokey though and needs frequent oil changes/top ups. Comfy and quick, but acceleration a tad poor by modern standards. Usual rust build ups under body, but nothing too serious. Astonishes mechanics when they spot the odometer!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th August, 2002

1990 Vauxhall Cavalier GL 2.0i from UK and Ireland


High performance, low cost, max potential!


Starter motor sticking (caused stalling because it was stuck in the engine when I was driving). - Replaced for about forty quid - fitted myself.

Fuel injection pipes eroded. - Very noticeable because I ended up with a fountain of petrol coming out of one. This was a concern because I didn't track it down until it became fairly bad. However it only cost about four pounds to get replacement pipes from Halford. Fitting them was straight-forward although a little tricky.

Engine management light seemed to come on every now and then. Why this is I never truly found out. Although I suspect it was the starter motor sticking that may have caused it.

Otherwise I carried out work that I would expect to do on a second hand car. Such as replacing the cam-belt, fan belt, bulbs and filters. (I bought the car off a family member and it had not been serviced for some time).

The electric window on the passenger door started becoming erratic just before I sold the car. It would go down when I wanted it to go up - or it would shut and then open itself an Inch again!

General Comments:

Performance was great, not as quick as the 16v Version - but it is more economical and cheaper to insure.

The seats and sitting position were very good - partly thanks to the seat height adjuster. My current Primera is nice, but a little to low down and firm in comparison.

Parts are dead easy to come by, you can get them from most accessory shops on the high-street. Also from scrap yards (since the Cavalier has been around since 1988 and was a top seller, there are plenty that have been bumped that little bit too hard - which is your gain if you need a new window winder).

Sporty modifications are very well catered for as well, if you are into that kind of thing.

I liked the GL model I had, but some of the lower models have ghastly interior material and colour co-ordination!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th July, 2002

20th Nov 2009, 21:37

I wrote this review several years ago now and can say I do miss that Cavalier the most out of my cars. I have to take issue with several motor magazines that claim the Vectra that followed was more comfortable. POPPYCOCK! I used to drive a Vectra for a living before driving home in my cavalier, and can say without any doubt that the Vectras hard seats and slab like dash were a big let down.