1992 Vauxhall Nova Expression 1.2i from UK and Ireland


Great and full of character


I don't know why, but it wouldn't start on some mornings. A mechanic friend of mine told me that there was no compression, that the tappets had drained. Whatever it was, it fixed itself!

The drivers seat is starting to look a bit mucky, and the previous owner has had a prang that was not fixed properly. Other than that, I can't fault it!

General Comments:

I have changed a whole heap of parts such as the dizzy cap, leads, plugs, oil & filter as well as a rotor arm.

The exhaust knocks on the firewall when giving it the beans.

Not the most powerful car on the road, but ya know what, it doesn't matter! There is still plenty of beans to give her, and doing 35mph in 1st is still a laugh to me!

However the only major bad point is the gear box! Very clunky and only got 4 there, which means the tiny 65bhp 1.2 needs to be revving like mad on motorway :( Going to get a 5 speed put into it as well as change a few more bits!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th February, 2008

1992 Vauxhall Nova Merit 1.2 I4 petrol from UK and Ireland


Great little companion


New Radiator Hose.

New Battery.

Seats worn.



Rattly carburettor.

General Comments:

Well this is my first car, and I would recommend a Nova to any new driver.

Was given to me as a surprise 18th birthday present, but didn't get to drive it as my own until I passed my fourth test three days ago.

Apart from the above, especially the rather dangerous (it kept stalling at junctions and you had to redline it to get it going) jerking problem that breifly occurred, it has served me well so far. (I have later since fixed this fault - it was a dirty carburettor)

One thing I can definitely say is that a base-spec Nova teaches you how to drive more than your instructor's two month old brand new car ever could.

No PAS and only four gears, plus a manual choke (old fashioned on a 1992 car) means you can feel everything that's going on.

Handling is dire - body roll in most bends and ride height is a little high so it looks a little jacked-up.

A little on the tinny side - no sound insulation and thin pillars; on the plus side this gives great visibility, and means the car is very lightweight.

Great-sounding engine that pulls well in gears and easily keeps up with modern stuff despite a feeble 55 bhp. Personally this engine is stronger than the current Vauxhall ECOTEC units.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th February, 2007

1992 Vauxhall Nova SRi 1.4 from UK and Ireland




I've owned the car since 7th January and only replaced 2 wheel bearings within a week of getting it. Rear arches started to rust.

General Comments:

This is the quickest 1.4 I've driven, it's so much fun it's unbelievable! Handles like it's on rails (goes exactly where you point it). Doesn't burn any oil, runs spot on, starts every time first time. Vision out of the car is very good. Plenty of get up and go, but I've got to say it is very uncomfortable and is thirsty if you put your foot down.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th May, 2006

1992 Vauxhall Nova Trip 1.0 from UK and Ireland


A very cheap car to run, reliable and surprisingly good performance.


As with most Mk2 Nova's the hazard light switch broke and got stuck in the on position. Easily solved by taking the springs out, I figured this out after buying one for £3 from a scrap yard that had already been modified.

The oil seal at the base of the distributor dissolved causing the timing to be wrong. At first the car was reduced to firing on 3 cylinders as the distributor was leaning to one side, the only difference this made was a bit more noise and a tendency to stall when sat in traffic for any length of time.

After about 2 weeks of this the timing got much worse as the last bits of oil seal gave way, now the car was only running on 2 cylinders, but amazingly it was still drivable with a top speed of 50 mph a a lot of reving to get moving.

This was easily fixed with a piece of wire under the distributor surrounded by gasket sealant, as I have been unable to get a replacement seal even from my local vauxhall dealer.

The car was a bit difficult to start when we first got it, but this was entirely due to an almost complete lack of servicing for probably at least 2 years.

The usual rust on rear wheel arches and the front doors, but MOT safe with a bit of body filler.

General Comments:

A very reliable car except for that distributor problem, never been undrivable.

A very simple engine, can do most work yourself without many special tools.

Starts first time every time now that I set the valve clearances set the point gap and have set the timing correctly.

As this is a 4 door saloon reversing is a little more difficult than in the hatchbacks I have driven, although I find that's just something you get used to, and is worth the hassle for the advantages of having a decent sized boot.

Amazing acceleration up to about 50 or 60 mph, and capable of 100 mph on the motorways ("Your doing 100" exclaims my passenger, "whoops better slow down, wondered why no one was passing me"). Acceleration is however very slow once you reach 85mph, but when do you really need to go any faster than that.

Fuel economy is excellent around town, but not as good as you might expect on Motorways, probably because it only has a 4 speed gearbox.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd May, 2005

6th Jul 2006, 11:32

This review was very helpful thankyou. I have the same model now at 96000 miles and had a problem with the distributor and timing. easily solved with new breaker points and a tune up. Thanks again.

3rd Sep 2007, 15:54

I too have recently bought the 4 door Trip model, and found this page while trying to find more info on it. I have bought it as an "in-between" car, after the timing belt went on my Astra. It has proved to be a great little car. A long time since I had a car with only 4 gears, but that makes no real difference when driving locally or in town, which is very much what these cars are designed for. Defo not a motorway car, I found much over 60mph and it feels like I'm going to take off. LOL

Fuel economy is great, insurance ultra cheap with it being a 993 engine, and of course, cheap road tax bracket.

All in all a great car, and I will be sorry to see it go now I have bought another main car. I'm sure this will be a great "just passed driving test" car for a young driver.