Home » Plain Or Fancy, Your Choice: 2005 Chevy Cavalier vs 2007 Cadillac CTS

Plain Or Fancy, Your Choice: 2005 Chevy Cavalier vs 2007 Cadillac CTS

Sbsd 3 22 2023
ADVERTISEMENT

Welcome to your hump-day edition of Shitbox Showdown! Today we’re headed to Austin, Texas to look at two cars at opposite ends of the GM family price range, at least when they were new. But before we do that, let’s see which one of yesterday’s five-doors you picked:

Screen Shot 2023 03 21 At 5.10.32 Pm

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Wow, you all really hate PT Cruisers that much, huh? Or the appeal of the Opel by another name was just too strong? Either way, bad day for Mopar around here, it looks like.

But hey, if you want defunct GM models, you’re in luck: Today we have two of them! Both run, neither one has working air conditioning, and that’s about where the similarities end. Let’s take a look.

2005 Chevrolet Cavalier LS – $2,500

00b0b 3wrypah424s 0ci0t2 1200x900

ADVERTISEMENT

Engine/drivetrain: 2.2 liter dual overhead cam inline 4, five-speed manual, FWD

Location: Austin, TX

Odometer reading: 195,000 miles

Runs/drives? Yep!

If you keep building the same car for decades, gradually improving and refining it, it’s bound to turn into a decent car eventually, right? Introduced for the 1982 model year, with minor variations across five GM divisions (including Cadillac), the J-cars were a sales hit. It didn’t matter that they weren’t as refined or well-built as their imported competitors; GM dealers were everywhere, and J-cars were cheap. And gradually, a funny thing happened: the little GM front-drivers gained a reputation for cockroach-like survival. Neglect them, abuse them, it didn’t matter – the damn things just kept going. They weren’t reliable, exactly, just tenacious.

ADVERTISEMENT

00t0t 4dgsxcqybeo 0lm0t2 1200x900

Nowadays, nearly two decades after the last one was produced, J-cars are finally getting thin on the ground, gradually losing their long war of attrition against the forces of nature and the wrath of fifth and sixth owners. Examples like this little Cavalier coupe can still be found, though. This one is closing in on 200,000 miles, and I have no doubt that, barring catastrophe, it will reach that milestone.

00p0p 6evlmgtdgc7 0lm0t2 1200x900

It does have a little rust around the edges, and some wear and tear in the interior, but the seller says it runs well, and has new brakes and tires. The air conditioning doesn’t blow cold, which is a disadvantage in Texas for sure. But who knows? It could be an easy fix, and if not, there’s always the “2/60” method.

00505 4l8nwcsxlcu 0lm0t2 1200x900

ADVERTISEMENT

The good news is that it has a working CD player, so break out your Foo Fighters CDs, crank ’em up, sing along, and you won’t notice how hot it is. (Or whatever you feel like singing along to. I’m just in a Foo Fighters mood, I guess.)

2007 Cadillac CTS – $2,250

00m0m Ln0svpbz1yf 0ci0t2 1200x900

Engine/drivetrain: 2.8 or 3.6 liter dual overhead cam V6, five-speed automatic, RWD

Location: Kyle, TX

Odometer reading: 135,000 miles

ADVERTISEMENT

Runs/drives? So they say

GM, like the rest of the US auto industry, embraced front-wheel-drive like pop stars embraced drum machines, and it seemed there was no going back. Except for a few full-sized dinosaur holdovers, American cars moved to front-wheel-drive in the ’80s, and enthusiasts despaired. But twenty years later, rear-wheel-drive started to creep back in, in cars like this: the Cadillac CTS.

00j0j Gg8xcr6mkej 0ci0t2 1200x900

Though honestly, when this car came out, I had no idea it was rear-wheel-drive until that big chase scene in the second Matrix movie. Even better, you could get a CTS with a manual transmission behind its “High Feature” V6. Sadly, this CTS is an automatic, and we’re not told whether it’s a 2.8 or 3.6 liter engine. In fact, we’re not told much about this car except that it runs and drives, and the air conditioning is broken in this one, too.

00c0c 5xeqptfxfy4 0ci0t2 1200x900

ADVERTISEMENT

I do question the “runs and drives” claim, simply because it’s sitting in a pile of leaves and debris up to the wheels, and the left rear tire may be flat. It might have run fine when the seller backed it into that spot, but I get the feeling that was quite a while ago. This Caddy has definitely seen better days; there’s a big dent in one front fender, the paint is shot, and the interior is, well, this:

00b0b Eqioct48vbg 0ci0t2 1200x900

Filthy, ripped, littered with crap, and is that mold starting to grow on the steering wheel? I mean, it could be worse, and we do know how to get rid of it, but still, ew.

Depreciation is tough on cars. Drive it off the lot, and you lose your shirt on it. A few years and a couple hundred thousand miles later, and that fancy luxury car is worth less than the commuter special, and may be a worse deal. But I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

ADVERTISEMENT

(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
52 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
SlowCarFast
SlowCarFast
1 year ago

That Caddy’s fender wouldn’t be so scraped-up if they would stop parking it vertically!

“They weren’t reliable, exactly, just tenacious.” This quote really sums up a lot of cars featured on this site!

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
1 year ago

Wait, how the hell did a car HERE get that much rust? Did this Cavalier come in from out of state?

It’s in clean nick otherwise, but like, what happened there? Things don’t typically rust like that here, even Crap-a-liers.

Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
1 year ago
Reply to  Stef Schrader

Heh. “Crap-a-liers.” A friend in high school called them “Cadaverliers,” and once said, “A Cadillac Cimarron is just a Cadaverlier with power seats.”

Timothy Swanson
Timothy Swanson
1 year ago

The L61 Ecotec 2.2 combined with a manual is pretty fun to hoon, actually. (I had a Saturn VUE with that combination for 12 years, and it was a solid, reliable car, and even fun to drive in a buzzy, torque steering, cheap interior sort of way. Put a bit of money into the AC, and it’s a great car for your college kid. The Caddy, on the other had, looks like a money pit – beat half to death, with a lot of bells and whistles to fail.

Lhn91
Lhn91
1 year ago

The Cavalier is the epitome of GM “Runs poorly longer then many cars run”, and this one looks surprisingly well sorted considering the average standard condition of Cavaliers/Sunfires I’ve seen over the last decade. Most of them around here have mismatched body panels, destroyed interiors, and bad enough rust that you could stick your head through the holes. Piece of S***/10 would joyfully abuse until it’s death.

Wouldn’t surprise me at all to see this example run another 3-4 years, or at least until the rust starts disconnecting critical steering and suspension components.

ProudLuddite
ProudLuddite
1 year ago

Man, you can see why American car makers didn’t do very well selling sedans the last couple decades. That Cavalier looks like so mething made by a company that just doesn’t care much about cars to sell to people who just don’t care much about cars.

However, I have often said that if you are buying an old marginal car, simpler is better. So the decision leans towards the Chevy for me from the start. Add to this the fact that the Caddy looks like a low level drug dealer or loan shark lived and worked out of it for a few years and then parked it in their back yard for another couple, and the choice is easy.

STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
1 year ago

Thanks for the Park Avenue shout out, Mark! Another great matchup.

Team Cadillac here Love that silver-blue paint over the black interior and those headlights are so cool looking. Those J-Bodies are built so cheaply.

Although every CTS you see in the junkyard has failed timing tensioners.

Nathan Gerdes
Nathan Gerdes
1 year ago

I love a CTS so it pains me to say this, but the Cavalier is the clear choice here.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
1 year ago

My theory is that CTS was reasonably well taken care of until it got caught in a flood up to it’s belt line and debris and possibly other vehicles bashed into it as it floated by. Being Texas, it was probably uninsured and the owner could not get a payday loan big enough to cover the repairs, but probably still owes somebody the $2250 and maybe more.

The only way a rear seat would have that much wear is if it was chauffeur driven (unlikely for the left side though) or somebody was living back there. Again, being Texas…

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
1 year ago

About yesterday’s vote… 74.5% voted wrong.

And for today’s vote, the Cavalier is the correct answer. It looks like it was cared for and the repairs and maintenance costs for that car won’t be crazy.

That Cadillac, not a reliable or cheap-to-fix vehicle to begin with, looks like it was beat to shit, abused, crashed, “repaired” in a really half-assed way and then put away wet. And I bet there is a lot more that doesn’t work than the A/C on that Cadillac.

World24
World24
1 year ago

When in doubt, you gotta hate Chrysler.
– Every “car enthusiast” ever

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 year ago

I hate Cavaliers, they have some of the most uncomfortable seats I’ve ever experienced in a car, on top of all the other Cavalier things that make a Cavalier… a Cavalier.

Yet that CTS is so brutally trashed and awful that I would take the miserable yet shockingly well maintained Cavalier over it any day.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
1 year ago

J-body here. Better a well-kept econobox than a crusty luxo-barge.

Parsko
Parsko
1 year ago

I own a CTS, but chose the Cavalier. 1st gen CTS’s are ugly, IMHO. 2nd gen are one of the best looking cars designed.

52
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x