After trying to look up several resources without much luck, I figured I'd just join and be done with it.
My previous car was a 1991 BMW 318is with an S52 swapped in it (engine out of a 1999 M3). It got totaled out back in February due to some impatient jerk and some friends of ours immediately offered to sell us their 2002 Cavalier for pennies. Considering I needed a car, I wasn't going to say no.
A few complaints...
1) I'm 6'3", so I barely fit. It's uncomfortable, I sit too high, and the seat back is poorly shaped. With the head rest fully extended, the top of it is at the middle of my neck.
2) The headlights are garbage. I tried polishing the lenses, but it was a mediocre improvement. I attempted an H1 projector retrofit, but the projector and the shroud caused the lens to not fit back on the housing. I ended up buying a brand new pair of headlights to hold me over until I get my retrofit plan down. (Even this brand new set is pitiful with light output).
3) The lack of power is... well... annoying. Yes, I know it's just an econobox, but good grief... it downshifts two gears to make it up the smallest hill. I've noticed by turning the AC compressor off, it can make it up a couple hills without downshifting. I considered a cold air intake to possibly compensate for the parasitic loss of the compressor as well as possibly squeeze another 1 or 2 MPG out of it.
To counter the complaints, I do have some positive remarks!
1) It's paid for.
2) It runs.
3) I typically average about 29 MPG with a decent amount of city driving tossed in.
4) It only holds four quarts of plain old dino oil (my S52 took seven!).
I'm sure it sounds like I have a negative attitude about this car, but I've accepted it for what it is and I'm driving it as such. I'm not planning on souping this car up or anything... I just want to make it safer and more enjoyable to drive in the year or two I intend to own it before I can get back in another Bimmer. I'm going to try to learn what I can about this car since I'm stuck with it. I can turn a wrench and do the basic DIY stuff, but I'm not skilled enough to tear an engine down and rebuild it. With that said, I will contribute what I can to this forum and hopefully will help someone out.
Hi, I'm new here too. Glad to read that you take the car for what it is and seem to have a plan to make it more to your liking. I went from a 2011 Chevy Cruze bought new to my 2003 Cavalier I just bought a couple months ago as my work beater. After a 225$ set of struts/springs and changing all fluids and brakes myself, I have a pretty decent little car to bomb around. Mine is a base model 5 speed. I bought it for what it is, and I'm quite happy with it after 2 months. Hope you have a good experience.
Funny you say that... I just rented a 2015 Cruze for a trip to Georgia this past weekend. Good grief. Econo-boxes are getting pretty fancy these days. This one had everything except navigation (it lacked the navigation software but had the infotainment system) and rear-view camera. It's also amazing how fast 140-something HP feels when you're used to 110 HP. I'm sure having torque throughout the powerband helped that sensation of acceleration, too.
Welcome to the site first.If you want some real Jbody fun the 1st gen area would be OLD glory of that in my opinion.Not to kick the other generations on any level but I do like the 1st gen segment the best.Imagine rolling in a 86/87 hatchback was 86 and 87 notch back or typical trunk or coupe.These had the 2.8 and went to 3.1 between years.Granted to find a decent 1st gen Z would not be pennies but,the looks and shear fun are not on the fun charts.Simple cars they were in today's time but,the have something you cannot buy a real OLD feel oldschool car that will turn heads and offer a fun driving experience.Mine's a 85 type 10 2.0 ohv with a 4spd manual Muncie and will burn up the tires if you lay on it!As long you can get by with your current ride and do minimal to keep it rolling DO so.
Cavaliers are not my cup of tea. Like I said, the only reason I'm driving the one I have now is because it's paid for and it runs. My sights are set on getting back in the Bavarian family!