I had this car from 2004-2011 and only needed to have routine maintenance done on it....until the end. The clutch blew, had it fixed cheap by a friend, a few months later the exhaust fell off. At that point, I figured it would just nickle and dime me to death so I took it to a salvage yard. In the time that I had the vehicle though, it was a great little car.
GREAT gas mileage and mechanically sound.
My biggest complaint would have been the rust, but WI winters can do that to any car that isn't garaged all the time.
i just bought this car with 71,000 miles and it's already giving me problems. i took it back to the dealer 3 times to get it repaired because it overheats all the time. the car has no power whatsoever. one good thing about it is the gas mileage, thats awesome because i have a long commute to school every day.
This was my first car out of school. For a 4 cylinder, it was fast and fun, great in the Arizona mountains. The seats folded down to allow transport of a bike, hockey goals, etc. I enjoyed the car, but would have liked a bit more pep. I opted for the 5spd manual. After 2 years and 36k miles, the clutch went out. Could have been me, but I've been driving a manual since 1989 and have never burned out another clutch. Sounds like my experience is the exception rather than the rule.
Storage capacity, low profile, zippy engine.
Own up when you ship with faulty parts. Would have liked better stock sound system, but I've rarely been satisfied with stock audio.
If your looking for a good first car for you teenager, do not dismiss this car despite GM's reliability and quality record. I am now 23 and looking for a newer used car but I have to stand up for the Cavalier, she's been an overall great little sporty car. With the 3spd auto, (some performance mods) respectable torque, decent stock suspension, the 2.2l 2200 engine may not pump out a lot of mind blowing horsepower, but it's been a very reliable engine. Acceleration could be a bit better for its class. Awesome gas mileage (*with* performance mods!) With a WAI, catback exhaust and performance header, I get 26 city and 31 highway. The interior isn't that bad, overall pretty basic and comfortable
The trunk space is ridiculous haha. The back seat folds down completely and you can really take advantage of the car's body length! When I moved to my newer apartment, it took that car only 6 trips to fit all of my belongings (obviously not including furniture).
Bottom line, the only thing wrong with this car is it's made by a company that only seems to get Trucks and Muscle Cars built right. Had to replace the tranny $$$ but I'm pretty sure a previous owner tried to stick it in park when it was still moving, but it lasted. Cooling system is awful though.