1989 Vauxhall Nova Merit 1.5 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


A wolf in sheep's clothing


The alternator was the only thing to go wrong with the car while I had it. Unfortunately, it cost me £180 for a new one!

General Comments:

Forget GTE's and SR's. The TD is the one you want.

The suspension needs up rating because it's like jelly, but the brakes are good (because diesels get bigger brakes).

A friend of mine had a 1.4 SR and I could run rings round it and still achieve 50 miles per gallon. On a quiet day you can return amazing fuel comsumption figures of 70 miles per gallon. My friend then purchased a GTE with all sorts of tuning bits. Fast road cams etc. He still couldn't leave me!

If you get one, make sure it's an older version (without a cat) or it won't be as punchy. Or seek out the rare SX for electric windows and a bit more refinement.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th September, 2001

7th Dec 2001, 13:32

Erm a TD leaving a GTE? You are dreaming.

30th Jan 2002, 11:51

I swear down, I've taken Saxo VTRs, Golf GTIs (all ages) and especially GTEs. I also have many, previously sceptical, witnesses to prove it!

Do us all a favour and hammer your diesels from new, they perform best that way. And that's a fact.

18th Mar 2003, 06:15

A turbo diesel beat a gte what planet are your from its like saying a cat would beat a cheater just admit it you got blown.

26th May 2003, 13:21

I believe you fella! I used to have one and simply take off the over boost valve and keep on turning. They just go and go and go and they are rapid, especially being a 1.5 TD.

I hope you still have it, since it is an awesome car.

2nd Dec 2003, 10:08

I own a nova-van and I gotta agree its stupidly quick! having had the diesel pump tweaked and the turbo boosted its good for 130mph+ now, even with 16inch speedlines!! GTE's really are no problem for me!!

23rd Dec 2003, 09:52

Oh dear Oh dear Oh dear take your diesel back to the farm yard you got it from, put the engine back in the tractor you took it off and please stop writing CRAP!!! please thank you!!!

1989 Vauxhall Nova 5 door hatchback 1.2 from UK and Ireland


A wicked 'run-around'!


The head gasket blew twice, which cost around £200 to fix each time!

Water pump and thermometer failed, which was possibly related to, or the cause of the head gasket to blow.

Seats seemed to burn easily from cigarette burns.

Brake pads changed twice, which was a fairly simple task.

General Comments:

Apart from engine failures, mainly due to car being raced, the car is an absolute dream.

Incredibly easy to work on.

If you are not too fussy about a comfortable ride, I recommend adding up-rated sport shocks and lowered springs as the handling becomes breathtaking.

The best thing you could do to a Nova is to add a Webber carburettor. It increases high end throttle and produces an incredible throaty sound.

Not many bad points apart from it being a very cramped car with little boot space.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th April, 2001

21st Jan 2002, 16:05

That`s why I always liked the booted Novas... more space and the car looks bigger!

1989 Vauxhall Nova SR 1.3 from UK and Ireland


A fantastic little car


The head gasket was blown when I bought it which caused a split in the radiator hose.

Petrol tank had to be replaced because it was leaking.

Sticking automatic choke.

Snapped hand-brake cable.

Warped brake discs and seized caliper.

CV boot (twice).

Ignition barrel snapped.

General Comments:

Surprisingly fast and very reliable. Though things have gone wrong, it has always started every time, and still runs spot-on.

The only let down in performance is the brakes, which are pretty poor when slowing down from motorway speeds.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th April, 2001

1989 Vauxhall Nova Merit 1.2 from UK and Ireland


Ideal first motor


The usual stuff. Middle part and back box on the exhaust replaced, spark plugs and other things caused by general wear and tear.

General Comments:

A great little car for the year that I've had it. I've only spent a grand total of £40 repairing it.

Right enough it isn't very comfortable as standard and it does rattle a fair bit, but if you just want a run around for a first car this wee motor is ideal.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th April, 2001