Used 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier Coupe

1996 Chevrolet Cavalier
List price range
1996 Chevrolet Cavalier

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

For more than a decade, the Cavalier has been a staple sales leader for Chevy dealers. Understandably so, because the Cavalier offered reasonable value and was priced low enough to compete with many smaller, but more modern, automobiles. The undeniable fact of the matter, however, was that the Cavalier had been around for 14 years with only minor styling changes and few modifications.

Last year, an all-new Cavalier debuted, and we are duly impressed. The only shortcomings with the new car are the sluggish and loud base engine, the low seating positions, and the odd distortions evident in the lower corners of the windshield.

GM's venerable 2.2-liter four cylinder, whose droning exhaust note you are no doubt familiar with, is standard in the Cavalier. Equipped with this powerplant, the Cavalier lags behind its primary competition, the Dodge Neon, in power and acceleration. Optional in sedans and convertibles is a new 2.4-liter twin cam hooked to a four-speed automatic transmission that features traction control. The Cavalier is a much more livable car with this engine, and we wish that Chevrolet offered this powertrain in the base coupe as well.

The sporty Z24 coupe is available with the twin-cam engine, and in this application can be equipped with either automatic or manual transmission. Five-speed models are as quick as the Neon Sport Coupe from rest to 60 mph.

At just one year of age, Chevrolet is already taking steps to improve the Cavalier. The twin-cam engine replaces last year's 2.3-liter Quad 4, and the four-speed automatic's traction control system is new. Cavalier also receives new fabrics in base models, a PASSLock security system, optional remote keyless entry and new radios. Daytime running lights have been added, and base sedans can be gussied up with an Appearance Package consisting of body-color fascias and moldings, touring tires and bolt-on wheel covers. Two new paint colors are new for 1996, and long-life 100,000-mile coolant has been installed in all engines.

Overall, we think Chevy has a winner here. The styling is attractive and contemporary. The interior is comfortable and well laid-out. Antilock brakes are standard equipment. And, best of all, the price is dead on; low enough to make the four-door Geo Metro an exercise in redundancy. We think the Cavalier will be a big hit for Chevrolet, and recommend that you check it out if a compact car fits your needs.

1996 Highlights

The 2.3-liter Quad 4 is replaced after just one year by a 2.4-liter twin-cam engine. Four-speed automatic transmission includes traction control. Daytime running lights debut, remote keyless entry is optional on LS and Z24 and base models get new interior fabrics and an Appearance Package.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Junk!!!
Nichole,06/06/2002
I, like so many other Cavalier owners, have had too many problems with the car to find it enjoyable. To start with: the muffler rattles, the a/c only works on high, the glove box has traped my cd's inside of it, the driver's side mirror refuses to stay upright, it will not start if there is less than 1/4 tank of gas, the thing just eats oil like there is no tomorrow, and sometimes the car will turn off as I am backing up.
why i dislike my Cavalier
311,04/14/2003
My 1996 Cavalier has been a very reliable car, besides that it is a poorly made car. This car is a basic ecnomy car, it will never be anything but an ecnomy car not even the z24 will be more. The horsepower to weight ratio is pretty bad(130HP to 2617lbs) , the Torque (120 ft-lbs) is also pretty bad. The interior of the car is very cheaply made, from the seats to the steering wheel down to the side door panels which always seemed to be crack on every Cavalier. If anyone is thinking of upgrading a Cavalier i would highly disapprove, go out and get a sports car and don't make the same mistake that i did.
Can't wait to get rid of it!
Jon,05/05/2009
I bought this car with 68,000 miles on it, and it was in OK condition. 4 years later I'm at 92,000 miles and I can't wait to get rid of it. I have massive oil leaks from several spots on the engine, my radiator hoses blew a few months ago and I too have headlight issues due to faulty wiring. Road/wind noise is unbearable, more so then the constant chatter of the plastic interior and rattling of the suspension. On cold and rainy days the engine tends to flood itself. ALL the seals leak in this car leading the interior and trunk to get wet. The entire electrical system in this car is horrible. Apart from the headlight problems, the electrical system tends to give out at high speeds.
What a Great Car!
Jeff83,10/23/2003
I special ordered this car and have been the only owner for seven years and 61000 miles of trouble free ownership. Had it for five years before I had to do anything to it other than oil changes because the battery started leaking.It is almost 8 years old now and the only major repair has been to replace the water pump for a heafty 800 dollar bill last year.It still has the origional rear brakes and all 4 struts.I got 50000 miles out of the origional tires. No rattles,leaks or anything that does not work. Overall a great car!
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Features & Specs

MPG
22 city / 33 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
130 hp @ 4000 rpm
MPG
20 city / 30 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
150 hp @ 4400 rpm
See all Used 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier Coupe features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
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
    Poor

More about the 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier
Used 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier Coupe Overview

The Used 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier Coupe is offered in the following styles: 2dr Coupe, and Z24 2dr Coupe.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier Coupe?

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Which used 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier Coupes are available in my area?

Used 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier Coupe Listings and Inventory

Simply research the type of used car you're interested in and then select a prew-owned vehicle from our massive database to find cheap used cars for sale near you. Once you have identified a used or CPO vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier Coupe.

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Can't find a used 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier Cavalier Coupe you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Chevrolet Cavalier for sale - 11 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $24,865.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 1 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $11,134.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Cavalier for sale - 12 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $24,261.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 5 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $13,827.

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Should I lease or buy a 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier?

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.

Check out Chevrolet lease specials
Check out Chevrolet Cavalier lease specials