1996 Chevrolet Cavalier LS Sedan
1996 Chevrolet Cavalier LS Sedan

Chevrolet Cavalier first hit the Canadian market in 1982. It has been a consistent top seller ever since and great value-for-money is the key to the Cavalier’s success.

The early Cavalier was built on the compact front-wheel-drive J-body platform that it shared with a number of GM products, including the infamous Cadillac Cimarron. The 1992 Cavalier was the first economy car to offer anti-lock brakes as part of a standard equipment package.

The first major redesign of Cavalier came in ’95. Besides a sleek new look, the highlight of the all-new body structure was the repositioning of road wheels further apart. Its wider track and longer wheelbase allowed more interior space and made it a more stable and better handling vehicle. It also came with standard driver and passenger air bags standard, yet another first in the small economy car class.

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1995 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Coupe
1995 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Coupe
1995 Chevrolet Cavalier Coupe
1995 Chevrolet Cavalier Coupe
1995 Chevrolet Cavalier interior
1995 Chevrolet Cavalier interior
1998 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Convertible
1998 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Convertible

The ’95 Cavalier came in coupe, sedan and convertible body styles and base, LS and Z24 trim levels. A 120 horsepower 2.2 litre was the base engine and a 145 horsepower 2.3 L high-output DOHC engine was an option. The transmission choices were 5-speed manual, 3-speed automatic and 4-speed automatic. Fuel consumption with the base engine and the manual transmission is 10.1 L/100 km in the city and 6.1 L/100 km on the highway.

Flying high on the popularity charts the ’95 Cavalier was the top-selling car in Canada for the sixth year in a row. A sister version sold as the Pontiac Sunfire was also a close contender for that honour.

In ’96 a 4-speed automatic transmission was made available with the 2.2 litre engine, the PASSLock security system was added to the standard package and the 2.3 litre engine was increased to 2.4 litre capacity. No major changes were made in ’97 and the LS Convertible became the Z24 Convertible
in ’98.

Always a price leader, even as a used vehicle, the immensely popular Cavalier naturally fits into ‘safety-in-numbers’ category. Good basic transportation – and parts and servicing are never a problem. The practical Chevrolet Cavalier is a good value-for-money and a safe bet, for the budget conscious used car buyer.

The lengthy list of safety recalls on Cavalier include:

  • Moisture entering the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) may cause the engine to stall and hard to restart (model years 1995 through 1999).

  • Welds missing on the front suspension lower control arm assemblies (1995).
  • The hazard warning lamps (four-way flashers) may have a faulty switch (1995/96).
  • A damaged or kinked accelerator control cable may cause high pedal effort or a broken cable (1996).
  • Faulty fuel injectors may leak (1996).
  • The interior lamps may turn on by themselves due to a faulty lamp control module (1996).
  • An overly sensitive computer may cause the air bag may deploy in a low speed crash or if an object strikes the floor pan (1995/96).
  • Faulty rear suspension trailing arm fasteners could result in one of the rear suspension trailing arm bolts breaking (1996/97).
  • Improper wheel rim fitted to the compact spare tire (1997).

Also watch-out for coolant leaks from the head gasket on the 2.2 litre

Used Prices: Chevrolet Cavalier (October 2001)

Year Model Price Today Price New
1998 Base 4-door sedan $9,600 to $12,600 $15,959
1997 Base 4-door sedan $8,100 to $11,100 $15,718
1996 Base 4-door sedan $6,900 to $9,900 $14,980
1995 Base 4-door sedan $5,700 to $8,700 $13,637

Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.

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