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Sunday, June 15, 2008


That's one fast Cavalier! (Well, not really.)

I took a test drive in a 2005 Chevy Cavalier this weekend, wondering if it would make a decent commuter car. Well, I can say the one I test drove definitely wouldn't without some work. I cranked it up and things were OK, right up until I looked at the speedometer and it said I was going 65 mph. It didn't feel that way, but I lifted off the gas a little... and the speedometer didn't slow down at all. So I pulled over and brought it to a dead stop, and the speedometer read 55. Next time I stopped it was at 75. By the time I got back to the dealer, the speedometer had gone past the 110 mark (the highest reading on the dial) and nearly made it 360 degrees around back to zero. I decided to pass this car up, even though this might have made the perfect excuse if I got pulled over for speeding.



A Cadavalier...? C'mon, you weren't really thinking of buying one of these examples of everything that is wrong with the tattered remains of the American auto industry...were you?
Only because I'd never driven one. Now that I have, it's definitely one to cross of my list. I might as well post my full thoughts on this car for anyone listening.

Good points: Putting the Ecotec engine in something that size was a pretty good idea. It's got a fair amount of torque for a compact car, which can be good for moving in stop and go traffic.

Cavs don't hold their resale value very well, which means I can pick up one with fewer years and miles on it for the same prices as an older car from somebody else.

Bad points (besides the loopy speedometer): I've driven cars with 4 puck racing clutches that were easier to work than the stock Cavalier clutch.

The brake pedal was a good three or four inches higher than the gas pedal.

The dash pad had already cracked. (Rest of the interior had held up OK though.)

This one was an LS-Sport model, which was allegedly equipped with a sport suspension. The one good thing about the sport suspension was the aluminum rims, which looked like quality pieces. It sure didn't feel like they'd tuned it to handle, with lots of body roll and general mushiness. The General has turned out some real sport suspensions for things like the Corvette or Solstice, but I guess they didn't think that Cavalier buyers would actually want a sport suspension, just some aluminum rims and a body kit.
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