UK CAR Reader Reviews: Vauxhall Cavalier SRi 1994
I've owned my Cavalier SRI 16v for 3 years now. It's a late 1993 model fitted with the Pre-Ecotec 2.0 16v SFI engine (150bhp). The engine is transplanted from the Cavalier GSI 2000 16v and this is the best attribute of the car. The car is very pacy (0-60 in 8.5 secs & tops 135 mph). The grunt from acceleration is amazing and in a straight line boy racers will be in your rear view mirror ! - but only in a straight line. For some reason Vauxhall totally forgot about the handling of this Cav. The engine is just too powerful for the chassis.
The suspension is far too soft and the car waddles at high speed. After replacing all shocks it still wasn't any better. You get bad understeer too. Oh, and I better mention the two steering racks I've had fitted (at a cost of over £1000). I don't know whether this model Cav is prone to dodgy steering racks but at 60 +mph the steering wobbles like hell and the car always drives to the left of the road for some reason.
As I've mentioned the engine is great, but it's not without faults. At cold start the hydraulic tappets/lifters are very noisy and it makes the car sound like a large sewing machine. I rectified this by having a local engine specialist replace all 16 lifters (at a cost of £300.00) - expect a main dealer to charge around £700-800 for this though. Also, the engine management cockpit light intermittently appears.
This turned out to be a faulty crankcase sensor and will sting you to the tune of £100.00 + (unless you jetwash the sensor like I did, and I've had no problem since !) Make sure regular cam belt changes are made as an expensive bill will be had if this baby snaps ! Always run the 16v engines on good oil too.
The cars brakes are actually very good. With ABS as standard and all-round vented discs, you can stop the car in no time (providing the handling lets you !)
As far as comfort goes, the seats are Recaro style bucket design, and are comfy enough, with lumbar support etc. For me though, the interior is a bit bland (as most Vauxhalls are) and if I were considering buying this new back in 1993 I would have wanted far more gadgets for my hard earned £15000.00. That said though, it has and electric sunroof / electric heated mirrors / front windows/ drivers airbag etc.
All in all, although I may have been a bit unlucky with this car, it has been very reliable with 92,000 miles on the clock. I have friends who never have any problems with their Vauxhall's and you generally cannot go wrong with a Cavalier as long as it's been looked after. I would buy another Vauxhall. In fact I'm planning on a Vectra for my next adventure !!
From Paul Jones
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