1991 Vauxhall Nova SR 1.4 petrol from UK and Ireland


A great little car at the time, but they're most;y all knackered now!


Considering I had it when I was 17 and drove it hard, not too much:

CV boots split and threw grease everywhere.

Both front calipers seized within months of each other.

Water pump went (after chasing an SRi on the M1 for 30 minutes at no more than 70 mph of course)

Starter motor went.

Head gasket (coolant vanishing from expansion bottle - no visible leaks)

The usual discs/pads/shoes, tyres, exhaust and many dash bulbs.

General Comments:

I haven't owned this car for over 4 years now, and it was in mint condition when I sold it, but I saw it in Bournemouth recently and it was dented, faded and smokey. I was gutted!

I modded it with alloys, stereo system, spotlights, K&N filter, Janspeed exhaust and PI lowering springs, but kept it in showroom condition - in fact it was cleaner when I sold it than the day I picked it up from the dealer!

Started to bubble on the rear arches 2 months out of the Vauxhall 6 year corrosion guarantee - I think all novas/astras and cavs so the same!

With a Haynes manual you can keep them going, but I took mine to the main dealer for services to continue the stamps in the book. It made selling it very easy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th February, 2003

1991 Vauxhall Nova GSi 1.6i from UK and Ireland


Superb value performance car!


Problems with the car mis-firing when hot. Eventually tracked down to distributor.

Rusty rear arches.

Rusty rear edge of the boot.

Rusty bottom edges of the doors.

Rusty 1/4 panels.

Sticking drum brakes.

General Comments:

This car represents superb value for money. Prices have come down a lot over the last couple of years, meaning that this car is more accessible to a wider range of people. Insurance costs have also come down.

Due to the insurance previously being quite high on this vehicle, it was out of the reach of "boy racers". Meaning that there are quite a few good examples still out there that haven't been thrashed, and modified.

Usual Vauxhall problems of rusty rear arches still present, and this car is beginning to show its age. However, it offer superb performance for the price. Surprisingly cheap to run. Quality equipment level, electric windows, central locking etc.

Handles extremely well with the standard sport shocks and springs.

A very quick car. Easy to maintain too. Lots of spares readily available. Lots of people out there with the knowledge and expertise behind the Nova.

Only downside is that everyone presumes that you are a boy racer. You might get pulled over by the Police a lot due to this cars reputation of being a boy racers car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th January, 2003

28th Mar 2003, 06:32

A very good review, I myself am a young man (18) and have just passed recently, I was about to buy a Nova Gsi but I don't want to get hasseled buy the police. I think it is pathetic that people think every young lad is "a boy racer" especially old people and the police.

1991 Vauxhall Nova Merit 1.2 from UK and Ireland


More miles for your money


Head gasket went at around 75000 miles.

General Comments:

Mechanically it's a very reliable small car, the only thing that has gone wrong is the aforementioned head gasket. However, this was a simple DIY job to fix, which only took an afternoon with a Haynes manual!

Second hand parts are easily available from scrap yards, or alternatively Vauxhall can supply any part within a few days. Prices for parts are generally cheap.

Interior is much improved over earlier models, there's plenty of room for the driver to move (even though the clutch is high) although it would benefit from having an adjustable steering column; those people with long legs might find them rubbing on the base of the steering wheel.

Bodywork wise the car has held up well, with only a few patches of rust appearing in the engine bay, under the boot lid and on the passenger door. Another common place for rust on Novas is under the rear wheel arches, often they are badly ground out to accommodate larger wheels and suffer badly from rust in the process.

Although this car may look a bit plain, it's easy to add on a few bits and pieces to update the styling (e.g. swapping the bumpers for SR style body coloured items) or electrics - although this model doesn't come with electric windows or central locking, again a higher spec SR can provide the few necessary parts.

Overall the car is good value for money if you can find a non-thrashed one - I can easily get around 120 miles for £10 of petrol - and although quick at lower speeds it suffers a bit on motorway driving (it's a 4 speed gearbox model).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th November, 2002