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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier Overview

Shed a Tear, its the Last Year for the Cavalier

That the Cavalier sells so well year after year is a testament to the strength of the cars design and its appeal to the American public. Chevrolet has announced that this is the final year for the Cavalier, due to be replaced by the all-new front drive Cobalt in 2005. For now, the Cavalier marches on as Chevrolets primary entry-level vehicle—a car that makes perfect sense for those seeking reliable, affordable and comfortable daily transportation.

The Cavalier is available in three trims: Base, LS and LS sport. All three are offered in coupe or sedan form and are powered by the same 140-horsepower 2.2-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine. The Ecotec is GMs newest addition to the Cavalier line and its spunky performance coupled with its miserly fuel intake serve the Cavalier well. Getrag, one of the worlds best manual transmission builders, supplies the Cavaliers standard five-speed manual transmission. The Getrag five-speed is as smooth and polished as any rival and makes for a downright sporty drive. For those who loathe shifting their own gears, Chevrolet offers its capable Hydra-Matic four-speed automatic transmission as optional equipment.

Though it is aging, the Cavalier can still hold its own when it comes to ride comfort, handling and performance. The base and LS models feature a softly-sprung suspension that returns a big-car ride tuned more for highway cruising than for twisting back roads. The cars stiff body structure and improved shock settings soak up more bumps than they transmit, meaning the Cavalier never feels harsh or out of control when tackling rough pavement. Youll find the brake pedal feels firm and that the anti-lock brakes (standard on LS and LS Sport) stop the Cavalier straight and true.

The Cavaliers steering feels centered yet a bit soft when it comes to feedback—perhaps owing to a bit too much power assist. Thankfully, Chevrolet has not left the driving enthusiast behind and offers an FE2 handling package that greatly improves the Cavaliers ability to rocket through s-curves. Available on the LS and LS Sport, the FE2 package adds thick front and rear anti-sway bars and a more aggressive wheel and tire package that flatten the Cavaliers cornering performance and greatly cuts back on understeer.

We give the Cavaliers interior mostly high praise for its fit, finish and overall comfort. The monotone color scheme could do with a bit more pizzazz, but then again this is an entry-level car so were not really going to complain. The handsome dash is well laid out with all the controls within easy reach and view. A wide center console, complete with a storage bin, center armrest, separates the driver and passenger. Youll find that the Cavaliers cup holders have been placed just below the ventilation controls and, when in use, effectively block access to the panel.

The Cavaliers comfortable seats manage to provide adequate support for all size drivers, though we think most would appreciate the headrest to be angled forward a bit more. On sedan models, youll find head and legroom to be very good, especially in the rear seat; coupe models are understandably less roomy but both cars offer plenty of storage space thanks to a deep trunk and the standard 60/40 split-bench seat.

The Coupe's low base price of $14,610 clearly makes it the value leader in the Cavalier line. Even for this low sum you get air conditioning, a five-speed manual transmission, rear-window defroster, dual side-view mirrors, AM/FM radio with CD, power trunk release, full wheel covers, power steering and dual air bags. The Base sedan features all this plus the convenience of two extra doors for just $14,810.

LS models add anti-lock brakes, power windows, power door locks, tilt wheel, cruise control and remote keyless entry. The LS Sport includes racy 16-inch alloy wheels, chrome exhaust tips, ground effects and a rear spoiler. Popular options include a CD/MP3 player, rear spoiler, dual front side-impact airbags, a power sunroof and the OnStar communications system.

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