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regfootball

GM small cars

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regfootball    234

edmunds

Fighting the Foreign Wars

By editors at Edmunds.com Email

Date posted: 02-27-2006

Chevrolet's mission is, as it has always been, to be GM's value leader in the mainstream of the American car market. So when foreign brands threatened to intrude, it was Chevrolet that was charged with going forth with products that would defeat the imports and defend GM's turf. When it comes to small cars, it has not been an easy or pretty fight.

*****

I used to YEARN for a Monza, and of course, we had 2 Vegas and 3 chevettes in the family. There's your RWD car! LOL.....I loved our Vegas....too bad dad was always rebuiling the motors or repainting them. My dad had a Corvair, too and he still wants to get one again.

enjoy the deja vu.....

Edited by regfootball

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My first car when growing up was a sky blue 1983 Chevrolet Chevette base 5-door hatchback sedan. Interesting little car, had it until 1991, nice article-genealogy they had there.

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My family had 3 J-bodys from the late-80s to the mid-90s. My parent's first new car ever & also first car in the USA was a 1989 Chevrolet Cavalier RS sedan.

Now my parent's have 2 Grand Ams and are considering buying a new car to replace the 97 Ga with. I'm hopping they go for a Cobalt or HHR.

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Newbiewar    1

My experience with japanese small cars hasn't given me a very good reason to buy them over my Cobalt.

i concur... now i'd say i'd take a corrolla over a cavalier, but a cobalt i believe is best in class

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Snate    0

i concur... now i'd say i'd take a corrolla over a cavalier, but a cobalt i believe is best in class

The cavalier was garbage....I've never been impressed with the current Corolla...and I was thoroughly unimpressed with the new civic at the auto show. I'm convinced that both cars sell more on their name than anything else.

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Newbiewar    1

The cavalier was garbage....I've never been impressed with the current Corolla...and I was thoroughly unimpressed with the new civic at the auto show.  I'm convinced that both cars sell more on their name than anything else.

yea... the civics and the corollas, expecially the sentra really offer nothing against the cobalt.

the cobalt also has the 60k mile powertrain warranty :)

the cavalier i might take over the sentra, but i'd probably take a corolla or maybe a civic over the cavalier... but the cavalier has more power then either of the two.. but the interior is just that bad...

all in all Cobalts rock! and HHR's are also fantastic

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njtex    0

Hey, quit dissing the Cavy! Mine will likely be in the family for another 9-10 years.

BTW: I live in the NE and still no rust through after 10 years of commuting. Also, the 2.4 is still gives great performance for the dollar. it's been very reliable and maintenence is still cheap. Only failure to date has been the alternator.

The Corrollas of this vintage I've been in all huff-and-puff up hills and have interiors that look like dried up taco shells.

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Newbiewar    1

Hey, quit dissing the Cavy!  Mine will likely be in the family for another 9-10 years.

BTW: I live in the NE and still no rust through after 10 years of commuting.  Also, the 2.4 is still gives great performance for the dollar.  it's been very reliable and maintenence is still cheap.  Only failure to date has been the alternator.

The Corrollas of this vintage I've been in all huff-and-puff up hills and have interiors that look like dried up taco shells.

hey i got nothing on the engine and tranny i get lots of comments with people seeing 250k miles with nothing but oilchanges...

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Hey, quit dissing the Cavy!  Mine will likely be in the family for another 9-10 years.

BTW: I live in the NE and still no rust through after 10 years of commuting.  Also, the 2.4 is still gives great performance for the dollar.  it's been very reliable and maintenence is still cheap.  Only failure to date has been the alternator.

The Corrollas of this vintage I've been in all huff-and-puff up hills and have interiors that look like dried up taco shells.

How much mileage on your 2.4? My 2001 has 75K and the only thing that has needed changing was the body control module. Getting tired of the choppy ride and the interior is starting to rattle more and more. But if it continues to be trouble free until I get new wheels I will pass it over to my wife and keep it for another 5 years.

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njtex    0

How much mileage on your 2.4? My 2001 has 75K and the only thing that has needed changing was the body control module. Getting tired of the choppy ride and the interior is starting to rattle more and  more. But if it continues to be trouble free until I get new wheels I will pass it over to my wife and keep it for another 5 years.

It's got 92k on the clock right now but it's a '97. I just remembered that it also needed a new blower motor resistor at about the five year mark.

I did the wheel thing too. About two years ago I needed tires, looked at TireRack, and wound up buying a set of 16" ATS wheels (look like '90's OEM Impala SS wheels) and 205/55 BFG performance all-weather tires. I didn't expect so much but it made a big difference in handling and helps keep ETS from kicking in under hard accelleration from standstill. The car looks good too and no more hubcap rattles!

If you have a few hours to kill, apply some sticky sided felt where needed in the dash and the rattles will be gone for good. My car had issues between the dash cover and cluster and under the trim panel that runs under the windshield.

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regfootball    234

The cavalier was garbage....I've never been impressed with the current Corolla...and I was thoroughly unimpressed with the new civic at the auto show.  I'm convinced that both cars sell more on their name than anything else.

the journalists are pandering to honda on the new civic. C/D was the only mag that didn't. I just got a new C/D today and there is an interesting letter from a reader exactly about that. He was thanking them for not pandering to the new Civic.

I agree.

I believe the Cobalt is a pretty darn nice small car, although I would consider the Mazda 3 probably the best. I still think the Civic gets attention to its arcade dashboard and available hybrid and the H on the grille more than anything else.

In my family we had 2 vegas and 3 chevettes. I drove one of the vegas and two fo the chevettes. My senior year car was my sisters chevette scooter. I thought it was a fun car. I wish GM would build chevettes and Vegas again. My 'vette had no back seat! It was a 2 seater Vette! I took drivers ed in the Vega. I always felt the Beretta was the spiritual successor to the Vega. My sister had a Beretta. It was an ok car, it just was long in the tooth. Typical GM, leave a car out to dry for 10 years.

I owned a Chevy Prizm which was essentially a Corolla. It had a higher feeling of refinement compared to the Cavalier at the time which is why I bought it. It started and ran, but it was DULL and there were a LOT of things about it that felt insubstantial and like they would become frail over time if I kept the car. to top it off, the engine was weak at freeway speeds. The body was thin and subject to dents to easily. The tires and wheels were small and diminutive and frail. BUT it was built with tiny seams, good looking BUT HARD plastic, and it felt solid for the most part. Doors and trunks closed with a hushed THUNK. But then the climate controls felt flimsy and like they may not work at any time.

The new Corolla has improved a lot in packaging but I see they still have the crap motor and thin sheet metal. i wonder if the steering is still light, sloppy, and uncommunicative.

GM's improved a lot in small cars. And it still has a jouney ahead, but i guess my point is that folks who are only buying on brand reputation from the past these days are simply followers and not open minded.

what I always find funny is 'how many 5,6,7 year old corollas do you see around, and how many of them look in good condition'.

not many. they stay good for awhile, but when subjected ot normal use, get quite hashed looking.

Edited by regfootball

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Snate    0

the journalists are pandering to honda on the new civic. C/D was the only mag that didn't. I just got a new C/D today and there is an interesting letter from a reader exactly about that. He was thanking them for not pandering to the new Civic.

I agree.

I believe the Cobalt is a pretty darn nice small car, although I would consider the Mazda 3 probably the best. I still think the Civic gets attention to its arcade dashboard and available hybrid and the H on the grille more than anything else.

I was shocked by the amount of hard, cheap plastic in the civic interior. Not only did it feel cheap...it looked cheap. The dashboard looked like it went on for an eternity. I've already said the interior design is nasty before. I really see no reason to buy it over any other subcompact.

The cavalier was pretty crappy. It probably ran for a long time though. The addition of the ecotec in 2002 was a gigantic improvement as its probably one of the best 4 bangers around. The fact that it was dirt cheap probably helped alot.

I don't think the Cobalt is class-leading...but it is more than competitive.

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njtex    0

I was shocked by the amount of hard, cheap plastic in the civic interior.  Not only did it feel cheap...it looked cheap.  The dashboard looked like it went on for an eternity. I've already said the interior design is nasty before.  I really see no reason to buy it over any other subcompact. 

The cavalier was pretty crappy.  It probably ran for a long time though.  The addition of the ecotec in 2002 was a gigantic improvement as its probably one of the best 4 bangers around.  The fact that it was dirt cheap probably helped alot.

I don't think the Cobalt is class-leading...but it is more than competitive.

The last generation Cavalier was a good step forward when it launched in mid '90's despite all the carry-over tech. The problem was that GM didn't follow-up over the next 12 or so years. The Ecotec was a great upgrade for the 2.2 but a big step down for the 2.4 crowd. Too little too late IMHO.

I also like the Cobalt but it's not a gotta-have for me too.

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CARBIZ    1

Up here in the Hinterland, neither the original Civic or Corollas survived the winter salt. Mechanically, they may have been simpler and, therefore, easier to maintain than the then current Citations and Cavaliers, but since none of them survived more than 10 years due to body rot, we will never know up here.

There is absolutely no denying that a short drive of a early '80s Cavalier versus Civic, for example, would prove that the Civic was fun to drive and thriftier on gas, but the Japanese automatics of the '70s and '80s were AWFUL and with them the cars were anemic. Since most Americans wanted (and still do) automatics, the Japanese cars of the time simply didn't stack up.

EXCEPT TO HIPPIES AND UNIVERSITY WEENIES.

I remember renting a 1981 Datsun 210 with an automatic and I was being PASSED by dump trucks on long hills in norther Ontario!

Recalling that GM ruled the market in the '80s and the Japanese were just getting a foothold, it is easy to see why so many people today still blame GM for crap they built 25 years ago. If GM was selling a million 4 cylinder underpowered, rattly small cars a year back then, and if half of them were garbage, then that is a lot of potentially pissed off customers who would have traded in the piece of junk and bought a '91 Civic or Corolla which obviously would have been a helluva lot better than the old Cavalier or Skyhawk!

Thence the Japanese Myth began.

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regfootball    234

Up here in the Hinterland, neither the original Civic or Corollas survived the winter salt.  Mechanically, they may have been simpler and, therefore, easier to maintain than the then current Citations and Cavaliers, but since none of them survived more than 10 years due to body rot, we will never know up here.

  There is absolutely no denying that a short drive of a early '80s Cavalier versus Civic, for example, would prove that the Civic was fun to drive and thriftier on gas, but the Japanese automatics of the '70s and '80s were AWFUL and with them the cars were anemic.  Since most Americans wanted (and still do) automatics, the Japanese cars of the time simply didn't stack up.

  EXCEPT TO HIPPIES AND UNIVERSITY WEENIES.

  I remember renting a 1981 Datsun 210 with an automatic and I was being PASSED by dump trucks on long hills in norther Ontario!

  Recalling that GM ruled the market in the '80s and the Japanese were just getting a foothold, it is easy to see why so many people today still blame GM for crap they built 25 years ago.    If GM was selling a million 4 cylinder underpowered, rattly small cars a year back then, and if half of them were garbage, then that is a lot of potentially pissed off customers who would have traded in the piece of junk and bought a '91 Civic or Corolla which obviously would have been a helluva lot better than the old Cavalier or Skyhawk! 

  Thence the Japanese Myth began.

How spot dead on are you?

"EXCEPT TO HIPPIES AND UNIVERSITY WEENIES"

that is indeed the 'intelligentsia' that spawned the popularity of Consumer Reports and made them who they are. Now, the whole 'consumer reports' mentality has such a momentum, that its kind of become a gospel and everyone is looking to it as some authority. the press panders to them, and the intelligentsia.

So even though GM is building its best cars ever, the press is locked into the intelligentsia take on everything. And they can't report the other side, that is folks who either don't read stuff on the internet, don't watch the firnge news channels, and certainly don't have consumer reports. But they make it seem like that is the only place you should make your judgements on.

So if Car and Driver said their long term Acura RL was in the shop 8 times (in basically the first year) but Consumer Reports loves Honda....who do you believe? Doesn't JD power matter? popular Mechanics has great test / reliability data, but why do we never see them as being the authority? Is it just because PM readers buy a greater percentage of domestics?

Consumer Reports can uck off fro all i am concerned. Until their data is geenrated from representative samples of EVERYONE....I find their data results to be limited, useful but NOT THE AUTHORITY.

why do we never hear from the midwestern farmer who's Buick LeSabre is still trouble free after many years? BECAUSE HE DOESn'T READ CONSUMER REPORTS. Because he's not INTELLIGENT.

Edited by regfootball

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It's got 92k on the clock right now but it's a '97.  I just remembered that it also needed a new blower motor resistor at about the five year mark.

I forgot about that one. My blower motor resistor died last fall too. Is it hard to change that?

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