1988 Vauxhall Nova SR 1.3 from UK and Ireland


Cheap to run, great performance!


Nothing major, normal wear and tear... New cam-belts, gaskets, bearings, etc.

General Comments:

Fantastic little car!

Cheap to maintain, if you are a dab hand at engineering (or own a Haynes manual!) it is very easy to work on.

Easy on fuel, I get about 37mpg round town, got over 47mpg down the motorway (no joke I calculated it!)

Starts first time, pulls away from most other small cars (even modern ones), fantastic performance in such a small car, funny when people underestimate it and then get burnt of by it!

Fairly comfortable for an older car.

Handling is OK, but as stock tends to roll, and if pushed to the limits, the back end loses grip with no warning and you spin.

Only negative is that chavs like it, security issue.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 30th May, 2005

1988 Vauxhall Nova Basic 1.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


Cheap dependable runabout, not a long distance cruiser at all


Small shunt a few months after purchase, required cosmetic work on rear bumber/tailgate.

Original exhaust replaced @ C. 70k.

New clutch plate @ 80k.

Persistent rattle from the tailgate hinges since new.

Specks of rust on door sills, rear wheel arches and wheels.

General Comments:

This car was bought new by my parents when I started school in 1988. I'm now approaching 21. That gives a reflection of how long the Nova has been in our family.

Both me and my brother learned to drive in this car. It is easy to park due to its boxiness; unlike my instructor's '96 Micra you can see where the corners are. Insurance is pennies, because it is hard to go fast enough to crash. Having said that, grip from the skinny tyres is pretty lame.

The car has been utterly reliable. It has never let any member of my family down once. It doesn't like long drives on the motorway in the wet; the distributor needs to be dried every so often, but mechanically it is completely sound.

Very easy on petrol round town. Surprisingly thirsty on the motorway. It only has a 37 bhp engine and a 4 speed 'box so you really need to thrash it to keep up with the rest of the traffic.

Mechanically about as complicated as a tin opener. Engine is a pushrod 2 valves per cylinder unit. Changed the clutch with my Dad on the front drive. Parts very cheap.

Quite fun to drive, if rather slow. Sharp throttle response

I still don't know why my parents bought such a low-spec car, but it has been faithful and reliable for many years and shows no sign of stopping. I wouldn't by the car myself as it is too unrefined and uncomfortable on the motorway.

It must be the least modified white Nova in the UK! The only external change is a radio aerial added last summer.

Buy one if you want reliable transport at absolute bargain basement prices, but don't expect refinement.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 5th April, 2005

1988 Vauxhall Nova SR 1.3 from UK and Ireland


A cheap and cheerful performance hatch


Rusted severely in boot area, but was soon rectified at my local garage.

Rear silencer started blowing. New one only cost £14 so I couldn't complain!

C.V. boot split, and leaked grease, also rectified by the garage.

Automatic choke mass fell apart, but was soon put back together in a couple of minutes.

Mold took hold inside of car from leaking battery tray, but also rectified quickly.

General Comments:

What a great little car! This is my first car and was offered to me by my boss at the garage. I had to think about it at first, as the previous owner had left it in a terrible state, and there was mold in and out everywhere! Now it has been cleaned up, it looks like new. The best thing about it is Full Vauxhall service history and only 30,000 miles! It has only had one previous owner, who was an old man who used it to go to the shops and back! Very rare and un-rallied car, which are getting extremely hard to find now.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th March, 2004