1987 Vauxhall Nova Merit 1.2 from UK and Ireland


I would recommend it as a starter car because of low insurance, fuel consumption+reliability


One car that's a favorite when it comes to getting stolen.

Contacts for the offside tail light played up, but easily fixable.

General Comments:

On the whole this is a really good starter car which is very reliable if well looked after. The one I have was bought with very low mileage, but generally even if they do have high mileage they still go well.

Mechanically there very easy to repair and replacement parts are usually quite cheap.

There quite a good car to modify too because there quite simple to take apart and put additional extras on.

One problem that usually comes up when modifying them is when big alloys are put on the arches tend to need modifying too.

Rust can sometimes be found on the bottom of the doors and behind the front lights. On mine its started a little bit where the fuel cap is, but isn't very major.

On the whole I would recommend it as a starter car because of low insurance, fuel consumption, general good reliability.

If thinking of buying one be a bit careful because some can be neglected or abused.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th November, 2003

1987 Vauxhall Nova L 1.2 from UK and Ireland


A quick reliable car.


My head gasket had a crack in it, but now is repaired and runs fine.

Rust is the main problem. The bottom of the doors and the wheel arches are main spots for rust attacks. It only appears to be surface rust and with treatment can be easily fixed.

General Comments:

The car has amazing acceleration, but lacks top end speed.

Although the dash is plain, interior paint brightens it up amazingly.

The potential for adding many modifications to the car is never ending.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th April, 2002

20th Mar 2008, 13:33

They are not fast by any means but they are quick for what they are, these old novas weigh less than a smart car, and I wouldn't even class the smart car as a proper car. More like a buggy, A 2 seater 900kg buggy, where as the nova is a 830kg 4 seater. long live the nova.

1987 Vauxhall Nova Antibes 1.2 from UK and Ireland


Very, very quick, and good fun!


I have had no problems as such with my Nova since I have purchased it.

However there was and is some nasty rust on the exhaust and wheel arches which I have had treated.

Also there seems to be some oil leaking onto the rear right wheel.

Not too good at starting in the cold conditions, seems to die after a couple of minutes too, I think it's a choke problem.

General Comments:

I have to say that this car is absolutely amazing to drive! It's very responsive and once it's warm is a delight to drive.

I like the low ride height and the pick up in 2nd and 3rd is quite outstanding for a 1.2.

I have timed 0-40mph and it's just under 5.5 seconds which is rather quick for an old 1.2.

The car just seems to love being thrashed, I can't wait to get my hands on a meatier 1.4 SR (if I can find a good condition one)!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th January, 2002

30th Mar 2004, 04:38

I've been driving for a grand total of 2 months! and brought a nova for the obvious reasons plus they have bags of personality!

My pride and joy however, also decides to die on me in the cold. Just wondering if this can be cured or if there's a way round it that anybody knows of?

Thanks, hazel.

1st Nov 2007, 19:25

The above comment stating that this nova has 45bhp is wrong. Post 1990 novas were fuel injected and had this power output, but earlier novas like this one had a carburetor and produced 55bhp which is a significant difference.

I drive a saxo, but have always liked novas and would have one, but its hard to find a good one these days.