What's New for 2000
Still available as a coupe, sedan or convertible, Chevy's best-selling car gets several subtle changes for 2000. Outside it has new body-colored front and rear facias, new headlamp/taillamp assemblies, new badging and restyled wheel covers/alloy wheels. Inside, the instrument panel now features an electronic odometer and tripmeter, a revamped center console with three front cupholders and an improved storage area. Functionally, it gets a better-shifting five-speed manual transaxle, smoother-operating ABS, Passlock II security system and standard air conditioning.
For nearly two decades the Cavalier has been a staple sales leader for Chevy dealers. Understandably so, because the Cavalier offers reasonable value and is priced low enough to compete favorably in the compact market, often undercutting smaller models from other manufacturers.
But small-car sales are suffering because of the strong economy and low fuel prices. Who needs a compact car when a roomy sedan or sport utility is within financial reach? Nonetheless, the Cavalier is good transportation, offering adequate room for four adults, decent performance and acceptable interior accommodations. Styling is attractive and contemporary, and there is a model to suit almost everyone's needs.
This year, Cavalier is offered in Base coupe and sedan, LS sedan and Z24 coupe and convertible. Fresh front and rear fascias debut on the 2000 Cavalier, but you'll need to be sharp-eyed to tell the difference. Here's a hint: the 2000 model has clear lens headlights. Z24 gets a more prominent spoiler, and two new five-spoke alloy wheel designs are available on upper trim levels. Inside, Cavalier is reasonably comfortable and well laid-out. A slightly revised instrument panel boasts new gauges, digital odometer and tripmeter, and stereo controls relocated above the climate controls for easier access. The center-console shift indicator is illuminated for 2000, and air-conditioning is standard on all Cavaliers. Stereos have been upgraded in terms of power output, while uplevel systems gain RDS technology and automatic theft protection. A dual-play cassette and compact-disc player is available.
GM's venerable 2.2-liter four-cylinder is standard in the Cavalier. Equipped with this powerplant, Cavalier lags behind its primary domestic competition in power and acceleration. Optional in the LS sedan is a 2.4-liter, twin-cam engine hooked to a four-speed automatic transmission, a setup that features traction control. The Cavalier is a much more livable car with this engine, and we wish that Chevrolet offered this powertrain in base models as well. The twin-cam engine is standard in the sporty Z24 coupe and convertible. Manually shifted Z24 coupes are quick from rest to 60 mph. Antilock brakes are standard equipment, and are upgraded for 2000 to provide smoother operation and better response. A rear defogger is newly standard.
Cavalier is aging quickly, and there are no plans to replace this model until 2003 at the earliest. Still, it represents good value. The price is dead-on; low enough to make the Chevrolet Metro sedan an exercise in redundancy. We recommend that you check out the Cavalier if a compact car fits your needs.