Have had this car for several years and now have over 204,000 miles on it. Highway mileage is 30 + which on a car of this size and weight is good. The only drawback for me is getting in and out of the car, comfort while driving is good even though the seat is worn. Repairs have been minimal. The intake gasket had to be replaced and other than that only brakes, tires, oil changes and other normal maint. has been necessary.
This is my second Lumina and is used as our primary family car. I believe it is very good on fuel relative to its size. It has had no mechanical or trim problems and was available at a very reasonable price. The engine is the 3.1 liter with 175 hp. My assessment is based on the experience of having owned 54 vehicles of my own over a period of time. The combination of economy, reliability and price is hard to beat.
Since driving back from FL last Spring (see my earlier review) this car still impresses. The mileage has remained mich higher than the official ratings. City driving has been over 21 even in harsh conditions. The car drives nicely on snow covered roads. No ABS is a bit of a change since even my 99 Camaro has it. Mechanically, everything has been fine except an occasional extra noise from the starter. Not an emergency.
After putting about 130K miles on it and reaching over 180,000 on the odometer, I sold the vehicle to my brother in Aug. 2011. It's still running strong (April 2014), with over 200K miles and counting. The Lumina was a reliable daily driver, and not a bad long distance trip vehicle either. Never less than 20MPG on a tank even in the deepest cold Chicago winters; typically low 30s pure highway driving. Stovebolt reliable and cheap to fix wear-out parts. Oil usage excellent at about 6K miles per quart. Tough as a tank. Was rear-ended once by a Mustang. Major frontend damage to the Mustang. Replaced the exhaust, bumper cover and shocks on the Lumina. Best Chevy I ever owned.
I bought this car for 700 dollars with 95,500 miles on it from a friend in the towing business. It needed a transmission paid 450 for it 300 to install it. AC went out four months later other than that no major mechanical problems. good on gas if you fill the tank (20-24 city 29-33 highway)the only problem i with the car is the bland interior and exterior chevy should have sent the lumina out with a bang such as adding cd player, power seats, alloy rims,fog lights,sun roof, power mirrors. the only luxury feature it has is the keyless entry and trunk release