1996 Chevrolet Beretta Review

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

We first sampled a Beretta in the summer of 1987; a pre-production GT prototype with gold paint and snazzy gray steel rims. Powered by GM's ubiquitous 2.8-liter V6, the Beretta impressed us as a sporty, quick coupe. We didn't care for the dashboard styling or the heavy clutch, but overall we thought GM had a winner on its hands.

We last sampled a Beretta in the summer of 1994; a regular production base model with red paint and boring gray steel rims. Powered by GM's ubiquitous 3.1-liter V6, the Beretta impressed us as an aging, dull, but still quick coupe. We didn't care for the dashboard styling or the mushy brakes, and we didn't care for much of the rest of the car either.

The 3.1-liter provides lots of low-end torque, and the Beretta makes the most of it. Under hard acceleration, torque steer is a problem, but under normal driving conditions, the V6 is perfectly mated to its duties in the Beretta. Braking is sure-footed, once you adapt to the Beretta's mushy brake pedal; a common GM trait. Antilock brakes are standard equipment on the Beretta.

If you're prone to motion sickness, avoid this coupe. The Beretta bounds and sways over pavement undulations like a Chris Craft in three-foot swells. The driver is well disconnected from bumps and holes though, thanks to the numb steering and floaty suspension.

Seating is comfortable, though we didn't get a chance to test comfort over the long haul. We think most passengers will be fine. Trunk room is reasonably generous, but the rear seat is somewhat tight for adults.

The Beretta's styling has aged well, and has benefited from its Chevy-exclusive status; a rarity in the cookie-cutter world of General Motors. The interior was revised in 1990, but now seems heavy-handed and bulky.

Overall, the floaty, numb Beretta failed to impress us. The Z26 likely tightens up the ride a bit, but we think it's more a styling exercise than a serious sport coupe. The Beretta is beyond its expiration date, and we recommend that you try something else.

1996 Highlights

Final year for Beretta. Only change is the addition of long-life coolant to the engine.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1996 Chevrolet Beretta.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Good Car, but there are downfalls
2dr Coupe
Great car mechanically, I have 121,000 miles and the engine is still strong and peppy. Transmission has been a dream. I have gunned the engine far more than a few times and can outrun (w/ my V6) any Saturn, any neon, or 90's mustang (base model). Downfalls: The paint/primer are of poor quality - very poor. The daytime running lights are a major annoyance, prior to dusk my headlights turn on and off simply by entering and exiting a shady area. Driver side left foot space is crampy and there is no comfortable place for it. Floor carpeting in front and back sucks, ex. staining and fraying. Doors are heavy, actually too heavy. They will start to drag slightly and squeak
96' Z26
Z26 2dr Coupe
I bought this Z26 off my brother and have owned it for about 6 months now. The car currently has 220,000 + miles and it runs great. Never burns oil. Steering is getting stiff. The cup holders in the car are not that great. There is no room in the back seats when there is two people up front. You have to have the seat (for me) all the way back so you have some decent leg room, problem is it takes away from the rear passenger space. The 3.1 motor seems to be very reliable athough blown head gaskets seem to be a common problem with them I have yet had this problem. Even though its a Z- 26 I beleive the car has a sporty apperance, but is far from a sporty car and acceleration is not the greatest.
I miss my Beretta!
2dr Coupe
I had my Beretta as a first car for about 8 years until it was just recently totaled. It was an incredibly smooth ride and had very little maintenance issues. It leaked water into the car the whole time I had it, but that did not matter because it's reliability easily canceled out that minor problem. I would suggest a Chevy Beretta to anyone!
Very Strong Running Car
2dr Coupe
I have had this car for 3+ years now, and it is running strong. Has the typical engine knock that all 3100 SFI V6's make, most of them come like that from the factory. This car has made it through 3 minnesota winters, and has come with minor repairs done, mainly to the cooling system. Have gone through an alternator, that is a typical repair in 3100's. This car is constantly put under torture due to my lead-foot driving, and it still runs great. Bought this with 167,000 miles about 4 years ago, and $850 for a car that lasts for 20,000 miles and still runs great is definitely worth it. Perfect first car. Low maintenance costs. I plan to drive this car until it gives up, then rebuild it.


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1996 Chevrolet Beretta

Used 1996 Chevrolet Beretta Overview

The Used 1996 Chevrolet Beretta is offered in the following submodels: Beretta Coupe. Available styles include 2dr Coupe, and Z26 2dr Coupe. The Used 1996 Chevrolet Beretta comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Chevrolet Beretta?

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Find a used Chevrolet Beretta for sale - 1 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $11,136.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 10 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $9,063.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Beretta for sale - 11 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $17,818.

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Should I lease or buy a 1996 Chevrolet Beretta?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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