I have been driving this car for about 6 years and it has been pretty reliable overall. It has over 100,000 miles and still runs well. Some repairs needed include replacing the front wheel bearings, replacing the part that holds the muffler, and replacing the serpentine belt several times. At one time, the check engine light went on and the dealer said it needed new oxygen sensors. I did not get them replaced and it still runs fine and no longer has a check engine light on. There is some rust developing on certain parts, especially the side panel under the gasoline door. This car is easy and comfortable to drive. It is fast enough when you need it and still gets good mileage.
I've owned a z24 for 7 yrs. Bought it off lease with 50k and its been very reliable, cheap transportation. Never had anything but routine maintenance and minor stuff to do. I am actually surprised at how good this car has been as I didn't expect too much from a cavalier except economy. Everything about it is economical (repairs, mileage etc). Handling is good. Ok in winter but better get real good snow tires.
reliability, gas mileage (28-30 mpg)
road noise on highway, heater fan is crap at low setting
I bought this car cause I wanted a 5-speed car that was cheap on gas. I have had good success with GM vehicles. The car has plenty of power when needed, but enough low end power to pass without down shifting at highway speeds and to no have to rev it up just to get it going around town. There were issues I had to correct from previous owners attempts at repair. Things that are actually problems were the brake rotors that warp and turn signal stalk/cruise control/head light switch (multi function). Rotors are an easy fix as any aftermarket fix the issue, performance rotors and pads help with pedal feel though. Suspension is compliant and handles ok, but could use sway bars and strut towers.
5-speed, sunroof, classic body style
Cheap dash material that cracks at base of windshield and squeaks while warming up in winter. Also the dash is easily broken to take care if doing stereo work.
I was looking for a winter car and never considered buying an American car, much less a Cavalier. To my surprise this little Z24 is fantastic, I only paid $2500 for it and that is a steal compared to anything else in the market in that good of shape, No rust...no fuss. Although it is not perfect it is very fun to drive and reliable so far. If I get 2 years out of this car, wow, I will buy another.
Powerful 4 banger, affordably priced, stylish coupe