What's New for 1996
A zoned rear window defroster clears the center of the Metro's tiny rear backlight first, base coupes get dual exterior mirrors and LSi coupes get hubcaps and body-color bumpers.
General Motors calls the Metro "the small car with big ideas." Big dreams, more likely. What we have here is transportation in its most basic form. The Metro hatchback and sedan are bargains on the new car market from a financial perspective, but they don't offer much value in comparison to other vehicles in this price range.
What else is even in this price range? The Hyundai Accent is, and if early indications are correct, it offers consumers much more for the money. True, Hyundai's aren't notoriously reliable, but the Accent benefits from a new engine and technologies that have often been reserved for higher echelon automobiles. In contrast, the Metro comes across as an underdeveloped tin can. Even Ford's underwhelming Aspire seems to be a better, though uglier, buy.
Metro sports dual airbags, and in the way of standard equipment, the hatchback comes with very little. The base sedan is better appointed, and LSi models add little more than a few convenience items. A wimpy 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine powers the hatchback; other Metros get a 70-horsepower four cylinder as an upgrade. While more sprightly than a comparably equipped Ford Aspire, the Metro LSi is still no drag racer. The base hatchback is even more sluggish.
For 1996, the Metro is spruced up with four new exterior colors and added equipment content for all models. This helps the value equation somewhat, but not enough to sway our opinion. LSi coupes benefit from this strategy the most, getting body color bumpers and standard 7-spoke wheel covers, as well as remote outside mirrors and a map pocket on the front passenger seat. It looks better, that's for sure. Also new is a "zoned" rear window defogger that clears the center of the glass first.
A fully loaded LSi sedan can top $13,000. That's Geo Prizm territory, folks, and the Prizm is in a different league than the Metro. Our advice in this segment? Try an Accent. If a Hyundai doesn't sit well with you, get a nice used car. Chances are you'll be happier with it.