What is wrong with the chevy cavalier or Pontiac Sunfire?

I read alot of bad reviews on these cars and I’m wondering what’s the matter with them. Can anyone explain?

8 Answers

  • I bought a Sunfire, new in 1999 , except for routine maintenance I spent no money on it until I sold it in 2019. Had zero problems. 

  • They all rust out on the rear quarter panel which is their only flaw.

    I had several and they were always cheap and easy to maintain and very reliable.

    They use a timing CHAIN instead of the high failure belts and the 2.2L engine is one of the most reliable engines chevy has made.

    I put over 250K miles on every cavalier i had and only had to get rid of them because of rust

  • They were NOT well BALANCED and NOT competitive with JAPANESE and ASIAN CARS usually! You got ONLY basic transportation with NOTHING fancy! ENGINES were NOT reliable and same for TRANNIES! The BRAKES were OVER BOOSTED! the SEATS not comfy! The QUALITY was JUST NOT THERE< and as USUAL by the time you pay PAINT would usually FALL OFF as well! GM DID improve but I will NEVER trust them AGAIN really! They ROBBED us ALL BLIND with DEFECTS and UNDERENGEERING and even UNDER TESTING! BRAKES did NOT last very long before needing PARTS as well! many were STILL not controllable in PANIC STOPS and would go SIDEWAYS unlike VW ABS and REAL ABS systems! In CRASH TESTING they did NOT do so well EITHER! They a were a COMPROMISE CAR and NOT competitive with ASIAN cars or EURO cars of the same ILK! >>ONE of the WORST cars EVER MADE was the CHEVY VEGA! At 20,000 miles the ENGINE would need new GASKETS and BRAKES would simply FALL OFF and the front fenders would be RUSTED OUT! The engine was made BACKWARDS. They used CAST IRON HEADS on an UNTESTED ALUMINUM BLOCK.>>CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT! >>JUNK CARS! Same for the GM cars with the QUAD FOUR and the IRON DUKE< a TOTAL JOKE engien that ran out of power at 4500 RPMS! GM made some VERY VERY BAD and UNSAFE CARS and they did NTO even CARE! They SHOULD be forced to give many people FREE CARS after how they do BUSINESS! >>EVEN NOW the CADDY engines only get to about 100,000 miles before the TIMING CHAIN go bad! >>MEANWHILE Benz has a ONE MILLION MILE CLUB and so does VOLVO! FORDS are made the MOST like EURO CARS and EURO engines and EURO trannies now! GM could just NOT get how to make SMALL CARS with SMALLER engines! They LOVE large GAS GUZZLERS that waste ENERGY and FUEL daily! I was SHOCKED that a CHEVY AVALANCHE can have an engine of EIGHT LITERS! That is OVER 500 cubic inches! GREAT for moving HORSES and HOUSES but a DRAG for every day use! And NOW hummer does NOT exist! When they cam up with the SOLSTICE they used a TURBO OPEL German engine! The IRON DUKE was a WASTE OF SPACE! It was a SHELVED engine from WWII and only revved to 4500 RPM! GM has done some of the ODDEST moves in AUTO HISTORY! Like the FIERO with the IRON DIKE bao anchor engien and ZERO power! like the UNBELIEVABLY BAD CHEVY VEGA that would last to MAYBE 20,000 miles on it;s BEST day! Like the CHEVY LUMINA suv that should have been taken to the JUNK YARD instead of the SHOWROOM! There is NO DENYING that the EUROPEANS have made the BEST small cars, then the ASIANS and TOYOTA, then LASTLY what we Got from GM over the years! FORD is using MOSTLY EUROPEAN suppliers and THAT is the BEST there is! BOSCH injection appears on nearly EVERY CAR and DENSO in JAPAN makes them under LICENSE from BOSCH!  IN EUROPE there are MORE HEALTHY choices like TURBO DIESELS of ALL sizes by VW, AUDI VOLOV BENZ BMW PEUGEOT CITROEN and many MORE! Here we USED to get the REJECTS from EUROPE and they ALWAQYS SUCKED! now the FOCUS and the FUSION are INTERNATIONALLY accepted cars! And the QUALITy may be as GOOD or BETTER than even BENZ or BMW! The MUSTANG now uses the SAME suspension as the FABULOUS DOUBLE CONTROL ARM AUDI CARS used for YEARS as such! Gm should be FORCED to give many people FUL REFUNDS or FREE CARS! Every engine they made between 96-2003 is DEFECTIVE in that DEXCOOL will EAT UP the INTAKE GASKETS as they s chose the WRONG MATERIAL to make GASKETS WITH! They SELF DESTRUCT by about 70-80,000 miles! IT MAY BE that GM WANTED them to break down that way! >>and TODAY nearly ALL the GM v8 engines LEAK like SIEVES as they AGE!>>AND they have TONS of DANGEROUS BAD IGNITION SWITCHES that cause FIRES and AIR BAGS the deploy at the WRONG TIMES! They NEVER test anything ALL THE WAY THROUGH!  I owned the VEGA (YUCH)_ my DAD had the CHEVY Monte Carlo with the 305 engien that had BAD CAM in it! thanks to RALPH NADAR and NHTSA we did NOT have to pay $1000 + to have the CAMSHAFT replaced! Only $35 for an OIL CHANGE. And GM always makes LARGER and LARGER engines that WASTE FUEL and ENERGY every day! The AVALANCHE actually had an EIGHT LITER engien as an OPTION! And HUMMER went OUT of BUSINEES cuz they were CLUNKY JUNKERS that RATTLED on down the road and LOST control so EASILY! Gm SUCKS as a CAR COMPANY. my BROTHER in LAW had the TOP of the LINE BUICK PARK AVENUE and it DUMPEd the engine at 80,000 miles from the BAD GASKET thing! I worked on a CADDY CTXC or whatever the number was and the TIMING CHAIN broke into pieces at 92K MIles! It is LIKE they WANT the cars to BREAK DOWN ON YOU and they NEVER test anything for the RIGHT amount of TIME! TODAY I still see RUSTED GM cars everywhere! They would RUST before you paid them OFF and the PAINT would fall off as well!  THE BEST gm cars were the SATURNS and now THEY are HISTORY as well! They hired REAL EURO and JAPANESE engineers to make GREAT lasting vehicles! WHAT GM cars are CLASSIC or in MUSEUMS or in AUTO COLLECTORS showrooms! NEARLY  NONE! The CHEVY 350 was SO screwy and ARCANE and WEAK, yet PEOPLE ADORED THEM! The CARS were JUNK those CAVALIERS and SUNFIRES! The INTERIORS were NOT comfy and neither were the SEAT! Event he FRENCH cars are BETTER than that and the BEST were the German ones from AUDI BMW and VW and BENZ! The TURBO OPEL SOLSTICE was a TOTAL SURPRISE up GMS sleeve! they NOW use the OPEL TURBO in the CRUZE and in the other GM sedans as well! The ATLAS was a GREAT ENGINE based on TOYOTA technology and the PONTIAC VIBE was REALLY a TOYOTA MATRIX with the GM label on it! GM will NOT tell you WHERE their ENGINES or TRANNIES come from anymore. The TOYOTA version was MOREPOWERFUL as they did NOT have to use th>>>EVER DRIVE a VW GTI or a AUDI TT or ANY AUDI! It makes teh SUNFIRE look like AUTO JUNK FOOD!

  • Cheaply made throw away cars.

  • Depending on which years, some of them had problems with cracked exhaust manifolds.

    Usually non repairable.


  • I owned 2 Sunfires over the period 2001 – 2008.  They were 2 of the best cars that I have owned. Good power, good economy.  The back seat was small, but usable. Only had to replace 1 water pump and 1 AC compressor.

    These both had the 2.4 L engines.  I have heard that the 2.2 L engines tended to blow head gaskets.

  • My neighbor put 350,000 miles on his 1999 Sunfire before hitting an elk which wrote the car off.

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