The Chevrolet Cavalier was Chevrolet's version of the compact General Motors J-body along with the Cadillac Cimarron, Pontiac Sunbird (later renamed Sunfire), Oldsmobile Firenza and Buick Skyhawk in the US; Opel Ascona and Vauxhall Cavalier in Europe; Holden Camira in Australia; Chevrolet Ascona in South Africa; Chevrolet Monza in Brazil; and Isuzu Aska in Japan. The platform was introduced in 1982 and, except for cosmetic differences, engine upgrades and the discontinuation of certain models, the basic front-wheel-drive platform with solid rear axle has remained largely unchanged throughout the years.
The Cavalier has been one of the most popular cars in America since it was first introduced in 1982. It is American-made, affordable, reliable, and gets respectable gas mileage. Perhaps the Cavalier's greatest downfall is its poor crash test ratings, most notably the high risk of pelvic injury (according to NHTSA).
Most Cavaliers were built at GM's assembly line in Lordstown, Ohio, although they have also been produced in Lansing, Michigan, Janesville, Wisconsin, and Coahuila, Mexico.
Production of the Cavalier will end after the 2005 model year run. The Cavalier will be replaced by the 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt, which will be phased in during the 2005 model year.
1997 Chevrolet Cavalier 4 Dr LS Sedan
(Photo by General Motors Corporation)
- 1st generation (1982-1987)
- 2nd generation (1988-1994)
- 3rd generation (1995-2005)
- 1.8L inline-4 OHV
- 1.8L inline-4 SOHC
- 1.8L inline-4 SOHC Turbo (84-87)
- 2.0L inline-4 OHV (Cavalier-specific)
- 2.0L inline-4 SOHC
- 2.0L inline-4 SOHC Turbo (87-1990 Sunbird/Skyhawk Turbo)
- 2.8L V-6 MPFI
- 2.2L inline-4 OHV
- 2.2L inline-4 OHV "2200 SFI"
- 1991-1994 3.1 3.1 L MPFI (191 in³) V6
- 1992-1994 2.2 L (134 in³) I4
- 1995 Quad-4 2.3 L (138 in³) I4
- 1996-2002 LD9 2.4 L (146 in³) I4
- 2002-2005 Ecotec 2.2 L (134 in³) I4
A 2005 Cavalier. The 2005 will be the last model year for the car.
- 2 door base model
- 2 door Z24 model
- 2 door LS sport coupe
- 4 door base model
- 4 door LS model
- 4 door LS sport coupe
General Motors has produced a handful of concept cars based on the J-Body platform which were first seen at the 2001 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) auto show. These include the Cavalier 220 Sport Turbo Coupe, the Cavalier 263 Super Sport, the Cavalier Z24R, the Cavalier Maui 155, the Cavalier 425 A/FX drag car, and the Pontiac Sunfire HO (High Output) 2.4. These concept cars were produced by GM to show off the flexibility and performance of the J-Body platform and to show that Cavaliers and Sunfires have greater potential than just hauling groceries. The concept cars at the 2001 SEMA show boasted supercharged engines, customized interiors, aggressive exterior styling, and high end audio/video systems.
The model was briefly sold in Japan by Toyota, under a company agreement with GM, badged as the Toyota Cavalier, with some notable differences. Besides the fact that it was right hand drive, the Toyota Cavalier also featured a leather shift knob and steering wheel, different taillights, power folding rear mirrors, side marker lights on the front fenders, and carpeting on the inside of the trunk lid. These parts are hard to obtain in America but remain highly desirable among hardcore Cavalier fans. Toyota Cavaliers were first sold in 1995 and were sold up until 2000.
- NHTSA (http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/NCAP/)
- The J-Body FAQ (http://www.j-body.org/library/faq.php)