1994 Vauxhall Cavalier Reviews

1994 Vauxhall Cavalier GLS 1.7 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland

Model year1994
Year of manufacture1994
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission 1.7 turbo diesel Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired71000 miles
Most recent distance72000 miles
Previous carPeugeot 106

Summary:

Get a good one and there's nothing better! Would you rather have a Mondeo?

Faults:

Alternator required replacement (causing rev counter to fail and warning lights on dash to light up) £75 + VAT.

Dashboard bulbs needed replacing (less than an hour to do myself) £2 + VAT.

Accident damage rust (i.e. bumps and scrapes left untreated by previous owners)

Odd problem with central locking activating when passenger door electric window activated (possible dodgy earth or frayed wiring - but then it is 15 years old...)

Fuel tank has a small leak due to being stood for so long (71k in 15 years - 3500 miles a year, on average!)

General Comments:

There's not many left and was lucky to get this one for £550 with 71k on the clock. No history, but the condition of car bears this out.

Comfortable, economical (45mpg+) and so easy to maintain. Yes, OK, it's boring, but for commuting backwards and forwards to work it's ideal, can't beat it!

Don't ignore the oil changes at every 4,500 miles (easily done yourself though) and treat it with normal mechanical respect - I'm looking at 600k out of this one!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th January, 2010

15th Jan 2010, 18:47

Yes I would rather have a Mondeo!

I worked in the car trade for 10 years, mainly selling Vauxhalls for a living and know how these two drive very well, I've driven every Cav from a 1.4 base model to a Turbo 4x4.

The Mondeo was launched in 1993 and was ahead of the Cavalier in nearly every respect, that is -- handling, engines (all at least 16v except the diesel), refinement, safety (the safety cell was more rigid and it was widely recognised as the safest car in it's class when launched).

The motoring press loved it, it won the 1993 car of the year award, and it was better except in the minds of weirdly loyal Vauxhall fans who deluded themselves into thinking a Cav handled, rode and performed better, I obviously told them it did when selling them!

Anyway, I'll stick to my 2008 car with a 4 star euroncap rating thanks, not a 15 yr old one that'll implode with any kind of collision.

Oh, and you've only had it for 1000 miles, maybe run it a bit longer before saying how great it is?

1994 Vauxhall Cavalier LS 1.8i 8v from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1994
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 1.8i 8v Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.5 / 10
Distance when acquired85000 miles
Most recent distance91000 miles
Previous carFord Mondeo

Summary:

Reliable cars for absolute peanuts!

Faults:

When I bought the car for £250, the alternator and starter had just been replaced by the previous owner.

I had to replace the battery, as the old alternator had fried it.

The only other thing was the radiator was leaking, and a new one was only £50 delivered from off the Internet.

Had to replace a few dash bulbs, but could not get to the one behind the heater control panel.

The only annoying thing is that the car has a very heavy vibration on idling, this makes the steering column rattle and gives me a massage through my seat! This does seem to get worse when the car is put in Drive and I am stopped at junctions etc. I am putting it down to perished engine mounts, as I have cleaned the idle valve and changed plugs and leads.

Considering it's now 14 years old, its remarkably rust free.

General Comments:

I also have a Manual 1998 Mondeo V6 2.5L 24v and the Cav is nicer to drive than this; the Mondy rattles and squeaks whereas the Cav seems better put together - its quiet and smooth, and a real pleasure just to cruise along at 70 MPH in.

It is not the fastest car I have driven by any means, it manages just over 100MPH flat out, but If I want to go fast, I drive the Mondeo - and pay through the nose for the fuel economy!

The automatic transmission is wonderful and smooth, but does show the 1.8 8 valve's limitations - acceleration is not the best. The 1.8 is a little too small an engine to have the automatic transmission on - if you want performance go for the 2.5L V6 or the 2.0 16V.

I like to use the Cav around town, it's much easier on the left leg when stuck in traffic, and not bad on fuel. It's a shame they are getting rare now in automatic form, I would never go for a Ford automatic, they are dreadfully unreliable. The Vauxhall automatic unit is made in Japan, and seems very reliable.

Cavs go for peanuts now as the newest models are at least 13 years old, but they are more reliable than Vectras, and if you can still find a good one, buy it, they are a cheap reliable run about.

Avoid the 1995 16Valve Ecotec engine variants - they are a dog of an engine - riddled with design faults - they are the first of the 1995 Vectra engines and they started out in the very last Cavaliers to be made from about Jan 1995 onwards.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th November, 2008

22nd May 2009, 10:11

We had a Cav 1.8 manual. Not a bad car, great for the first few years of ownership. No rattles or squeaks, the engine couldn't even be heard, let alone felt on idle.

Eventually things started going wrong for about 1 year, rather expensive, considered getting a new car. But luckily after it was all sorted, the car lasted another 3 years without fault. Eventually sent to the scrappers. Most of the interior electrics had stopped working and it had a lot of miles. About 250k as I recall.

3rd Feb 2010, 13:38

The Mondeo was built for breakfast, the Cavalier was built for life.

Average review marks: 7.1 / 10, based on 45 reviews