1989 Vauxhall Nova Reviews

1989 Vauxhall Nova merit 1.2 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 1.2 Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
10.0 / 10
Distance when acquired91000 miles
Most recent distance93300 miles

Summary:

Fantastic car

Faults:

Nothing.

General Comments:

Novas are the best small car. I have treated mine like crap and it still works perfectly. Great looks, performance, running costs, everything. Anybody who I have spoken to who owns/owned a Nova says they loved it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st May, 2005

31st Mar 2007, 09:02

Hi there people I have just purhased a mark one 1.2 merit and I love it! Picked it up for 100 pound of an elderly woman and its in showroom condition! 50 k miles love the little thing would'nt change it for the world!

1989 Vauxhall Nova L 1.4 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 1.4 Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 3 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Distance when acquired62000 miles
Most recent distance71000 miles
Previous carAudi A4

Summary:

Surprising little hatch

Faults:

Fault were:

The ecu played up had to get one from scrappy.

Cut out when hot.

Radio fell out in my hand.

Exhaust started to blow.

General Comments:

I bought this car so I could use it in between motorcycles and so my son could have a go in the local car park to learn in. He had said to me to get a nova, but the first thing that came in to my head was boyracers, but when we saw one in the local garage I decided to go for it, only £400.

After getting use to not having all the comforts that my audi had like air con, electric windows, and power steering, the car suprised me it was quite comfortable with plenty of room for 4. My son is over 6 foot, but there was still room behind him, just. The boot was also not a bad size.

Driving was not at all bad, the car handled very well and could have been improved by wider wheels. It isn't any "hothatch" but was plenty fast enough for town and took the drive down to London from Milton Keynes fine and wasn't out of its depth. It was funny seeing peoples faces when a thrashed getting an indicated 100mph comes up behind them.

Any adjustments were easy done with little Knowlage.

My son found it easy to drive and very forgiving to and mistakes.

Overall I thought this car was and excellent first car or second car with parts cheap if not bought from Vauxhall.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th October, 2004

1989 Vauxhall Nova Merit 1.2 from UK and Ireland

Model year1989
Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.2 Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.5 / 10
Previous carVauxhall Nova

Summary:

Good fun

Faults:

Nothing so far.

General Comments:

My Nova has uprated shocks and few engine mods with 14 inch alloys and it is the funnest car I have ever driven hasanbt got much power, but the handling with the suspension done is amzing.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th September, 2004

1989 Vauxhall Nova Merit 1.2 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 1.2 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.5 / 10
Distance when acquired42000 miles
Most recent distance47000 miles

Summary:

Awesome car

Faults:

The distributer started to knock.

General Comments:

The only problem with the Nova is the security problem, getting broken into 3 times in 3 months is silly. Two busted locks and a door bent entirely in half! On a better note the Nova is a pocket rocket, wave goodbye to Pug 205, Metros, Fiesta's and more or less any small boy racers!! Great car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th June, 2003

8th Jun 2003, 17:57

Nowt wrong with the Nova, but I'm surprised your 1.2 version is faster than Metros, Fiestas and 205's. Some Metros have 120 brake, some Fiestas 135 and some 205's 130. Do you have nitrous or something?

20th Jun 2003, 11:43

Well I have waved goodbye to a Metro and a Pug 205 already, I have the 4 speed manual so the gear ratio is better in first and second gear, It will beat anything at the traffic lights!

1989 Vauxhall Nova Star 1.2 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 1.2 Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.5 / 10
Distance when acquired106000 miles
Most recent distance116000 miles
Previous carFord Fiesta

Summary:

Fantastic future classic sports hatchback

Faults:

The car has been generally reliable.

The brakes are terrible, but I think all Novas are like that.

The rear washer no longer works, the hose inside the tailgate seems to have disintegrated!

It has started to rust quite badly, especially where it is dented although that's my fault.

The exhaust kept scraping on the back axle, especially after the car was lowered. I fitted a sports exhaust-this was stolen, so I had to have a standard exhaust modified to clear the axle. The middle pipe soon fell down again though.

The bulbs on the dashboard have a mind of their own! They stop working for weeks and then they become fine again. The speakers also seem to have dodgy connections.

The bootlid doesn't fit properly it's not straight. This means the seal cannot seal the car and on cold wet nights the car literally fills with moist air. In the mornings it is literally dripping off the inside of the windscreen, or worse it's frozen on the inside!

The tyres wear very unevenly.

The MOT was almost fine, but both rubber CV joints had to be replaced.

The worst point is the inner front wheelarches-they were so rusty I was driving along the other day and the drivers side one literally fell out. It was made of pure rust and disintegrated all over the road. Now I have no inside wheelarch, I will have to have a new one made I think. Novas don't have plastic wheelarch liners like most cars so they rust very badly in this area.

General Comments:

The Nova is a fantastic car. Mine is a white 1.2 mark 1 model. Following a serious frontal crash every front panel needed replacing so I fitted the newer mark 2 wings, lights, bumpers, grille etc. It looks a lot nicer now, all colour coded bumpers and stuff. On the interior I fitted GTE bucket seats, the original ones were stained, ripped and generally useless.

I've also fitted the SR alloys and lowered it 40mm. There is much less body roll than before, but the front passenger wheel rubs the inside wheelarch on full left lock. As the inner wheelarch on the other side has fallen out this is not a problem on that side.

It has always been so quick, obviously being an 18 year old Nova fan I don't advocate speeding, but it doesn't half go fast! It did 115mph once downhill on the motorway, not bad for a 1.2! Must admit though I hate going fast on the motorway as the car only has 4 gears. Its so noisy doing 115 in 4th! I did look into getting a 5 speed box fitted, but it would be too expensive. It goes so fast most people think it must be a 1.4 when they come for a ride. The acceleration leaves supposed sports cars standing in my wake.

One thing though-buy a Nova and be prepared for it to be broken into. I've had to fit so many new windows and repair the locks, it's a real target for thieves. This is why the insurance is so expensive, even for my 1.2. Imagine me trying to insure the GSi model! It would cost upwards of £5k. I've concentrated on making mine into a GSi lookalike, I'm very pleased with the results.

Buy a Nova and you'll get a slightly crude and dated car, but its so much fun to drive and nowadays every Nova is unique. People laugh when I say it, but soon they really will be a classic. In 2 months it will be 2003 and the Nova will celebrate its 20th birthday. Buy one now before they become too rare because prices will shoot up!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th November, 2002

14th Aug 2004, 11:49

Novas are rare cars anyway (well any that haven't been riced!) I am fifteen so I will soon be looking for a car (anything from the 80s and cheap). Are Novas a good first car?

Average review marks: 7.6 / 10, based on 46 reviews