1988 Vauxhall Nova Merit (5 door hatch) 1.2 petrol from UK and Ireland
A nippy, but unreliable first car!!
Fuel cap was broken.
Battery coil failed.
Heated rear screen failed.
Rear wash wipe kept tripping its fuse.
Horn came on of its own accord and jammed on!!
Bulkhead rusted through, causing major water leak.
CV joints needed replacing.
This car was a major disappointment in some ways, but very good in others.
Reliability was probably the worst I have seen on any Nova.
Performance on the other hand was excellent for a 1.2 55bhp car.
Handling was also good, considering that the car was 11 years old, on standard suspension and with fairly skinny tyres (155/70/13).
Most of the faults described above were electrical; mechanically the car was bullet-proof and felt like it would rev forever (all Vauxhall engines of this era are like this I am told).
Underneath the car and inside the wheel arches had been treated with rust protection, so the car was virtually rust free.
Trim was basic but hey, this was a Merit! Spec was no worse than the equivalent Fiesta/AX/205/Metro etc.
In my humble opinion the Nova is one of the best first cars / cheap runabouts that money can buy (so long as you get a good one!!).
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 7th January, 2002