Chevy is strong on new models for '04

October 20, 2003|by Motor News Media Corporation

Swinging for the fences, Chevrolet moves downmarket to regain the dominance it once had across its full line. Cars, trucks, high performance, and crossover vehicles are all in the pipeline for delivery to Chevrolet dealers in the near future. Here is what the bowtie folks have planned for 2004:


Leveraging its recent investment in the assets of the bankrupt Daewoo Motor Company (now called GM Daewoo Auto & Technology - GMDAT), Chevrolet took the wraps off of its new entry-level subcompact to the American marketplace at the Chicago Auto Show - the Aveo.

Extensively engineered by GM and manufactured in Korea, the Aveo will be available as a four-door sedan and five-door hatchback. Penned by Italdesign, one of Italy's leading design houses, Aveo offers unique exteriors and roomy interiors with higher seats for improved comfort, visibility and features typically found on vehicles costing thousands more.

As an entry-level car, the front-wheel-drive Aveo will be priced from $10,000-$13,000, and is powered by a 1.6-liter, dual-overhead-cam four-cylinder with 16 valves and 105 horsepower. A five-speed manual or four-speed automatic is available.


At only 2,380 pounds, the Aveo is 166.7 inches long and its diminutive size makes the small engine peppy enough. It should also be able to reach its EPA estimated 28 mpg city and 34 mpg highway. The tall design creates interior room for five occupants.

Malibu/Malibu Maxx

Chevrolet proves its commitment to the car side of the automotive business with the debut of the all-new Malibu sedan. Modern, larger, classy and stylish (Yes, this is a Chevy!), the midsize Malibu features a flat folding front passenger seat, 60/40 rear folding seat, available adjustable pedals and the first factory-installed remote vehicle starter system.

In reinventing the famous Malibu nameplate, Chevrolet started with the midsize Epsilon platform, which resides under vehicles ranging from the Cadillac SRX to the Saab 9.3 and Saturn Ion. The new global GM Ecotec four-cylinder engine, a dual-overhead-cam, 2.2-liter with 145 horsepower, powers the base model, while the upscale versions can get a 3.5-liter pushrod V-6 with 200 horsepower.

Along with the front-wheel-drive sedan, a stretched version with a five-door wagon body, called the Maxx, will be available at midyear. The Malibu is priced from about $19,000 to just over $22,000, with an option list that includes a four-speed automatic, driver information center, air conditioning and a CD player. OnStar, side-curtain air bags and heated front seats are also included among options.


Having worked its magic at the full-size end of the truck market, Chevrolet turned its considerable resources toward the compact pickup segment with the all-new Colorado. Replacing the aging S-10 in the product lineup, Chevy moves the Colorado up to midsize, carrying forward the family resemblance to the recently redesigned full-sized pickup.

GM's outstanding 4.2-liter, dual-overhead-cam, inline six-cylinder engine, which powers the TrailBlazer-size SUVs, is the genesis for spinning off both engines for the new trucks - a 2.8-liter inline four-cylinder with 175 horsepower, and a 3.5-liter inline five-cylinder.

Cab choices include regular, extended and crew. Consumers will have a choice of three suspensions - standard, sport and Z71 (off-road). With a standard 1,400-pound. payload, optional XM Satellite radio and spacious interior design, the Colorado may just be the thing, when less is more.

Except for the grille and some interior appointments, the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon are the same vehicle. They share the same platform and drivetrain teams and leave styling to personal choice.

Available in two-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive configurations, the Colorado pickup will be priced from $17,000 to $25,000.


Hot rod? Custom roadster? Open-air sports car? The time has finally come. The long-awaited SSR (Super Sport Roadster) is now in production. The first 25 off the line have been dubbed the "Signature Series" with a plate containing the signatures of several of GM's top officials mounted in the cab.

The SSR was an immediate hit as an auto show concept vehicle for the past two years, and Chevy's decision to build it scores one for those interested in modern/retro vehicles. It looks like a coupe from the front, a pickup from the rear, and both from the side, with its sleek nose and two-seat occupant compartment, and its rear pickup box. While that might seem like a projection of the old El Camino Chevy from four decades ago, the modern touches dominate, including a retractable hardtop over the occupant seats that folds away to make it a convertible pickup/car.

Built on the TrailBlazer platform, the SSR weighs a stout 4,760 pounds and has a 5.3-liter pushrod V-8 that can develop 300 horsepower. Price is $42,000, but limited production, to be held at 15,000 per year, should make it a popular item.


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