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Chevrolet/Geo Metro



  • Here's a bit of info on the fate of our favorite mini-car, from Canadian industry sources. The current (3rd generation) version will remain in production into 2001, but only in the Suzuki Swift version and only, it seems, for fleet sales. If you like the current Metro (or Firefly, in Canada), you'd better get a 2000.
  • Tom, you just repeated every complaint I've had with Suzuki, Chevrolet, and the Metro's lack of equipment it used to have. The Swift is basically unavailable even though it is the better car, the Metro has everything optional and some things not available, and neither company has plans to tell anything. If they drop the car, then there will be two minicompacts. Echo and Accent. Daewoo is bankrupt and goes up for auction soon. I wouldn't expect to see them selling more cars here anytime soon. Suzuki ought to release the Alto here. But the power (63hp) restrictions on Kei cars make them unsuitable for US highway usage.

    Checked out the site for the Baleno. Lose the will be denoted the Baloney car. But an Esteem hatchback would be a great idea...and the 1.3 liter versions of it confirm an old suspicion of mine. The 1.3 liter engine in the Metro MUST be interchangable with the 1.6 liter engine in the Esteem. That means when this 1.3 in my 1995 LSi goes south (maybe around 200K) I can use the Esteem's powertrain and computer.

    Two...if you get information on how to contact engineers at CAMI I'd like to speak with them.

    Three...notice how your car revs so high at highway speeds...the automatic's final drive is a whopping 3.61:1. You would think in an economy car they could either give a lower ratio or a fourth gear or maybe even a lockup converter?
  • Their site says the Metro might be replaced with an Opel Corsa. I have seen these in Gran Turismo 2 and I like them, but I would be happier with a Suzuki engineered product. I like my Metro, I wish I could have a 2000 Swift, and the Balerno better have a tach, a remote hatch release, a wiper and defroster, and the same comfortable seats I am used to.
  • Read through the specs, the 1.3L engine and the 5-speed stick are the same as in the Swift. The automatic is too, gear ratios and all. The 1.6L engine is a stick only engine and is the same motor I think, as in the 1.6L Esteems. Now almost all Esteems are 1.8L, but 1.6L is still in CA I think. The weight is the same, the other specs are the same, too. I think it is a Swift with the Esteem's front end.
  • it has power steering standard on all models...something you can only get on Metro sedans here...

    and power windows, locks and mirrors...standard...sounds like the equipment levels of Daewoo...

    it has the tachometer, and airbag models get a tilt wheel, Civics have tilt wheels...

    back door/boot lid opener sounds like a remote hatch release to me...

    also has the wiper and defroster (demister) standard...

    Sounds like Suzuki made a great small car, 1.3 and 1.6 engines are fine, it has room, it has features, and it has the little things that make it worth having...wonder what it would take to get this car here? I'm writing Suzuki in the morning...
  • Alan,
    Wouldn't you know Suzuki kept the GOOD stuff at home! (ha,ha)
    All those wonderful options... gee guys, don't cha want to share it with the USofA?
    Guess not.

    As for the "dog"-a-matic, it does rev, but it seems like power-to-weight ratio (gears and rear end), are matched. Yet, it does buzz on the freeways. Gas mileage suffers. I've been waiting for Suzuki to come out with a 4-speed auto (and waiting, and waiting).

    The Baleno has been out since '95. If GM decides to have CAMI build it here (Canada), you can bet the name will change.

    I'm not 100% sure GM will let the Metro go. It does have the CAFE standard to deal with. Also, gas prices are on the rise again. Maybe a model change (??)
    I think one sure sign of worry is when the options GM (Chevrolet), use to offer have been dropped.
    I didn't care for the model change over in '95.
    Why,? Cause you can't open up the back side windows! AAuugghhh! They're sealed! At least they gave us 13" wheels.
    What about the split rear seat? Gone!
    Scotchguard? Gone!
    Those "packaged" options that would save you money (ie: a/c, radio/tape player, rear deck packages) Gone!
    And my favorite, the rear hatch cable release? Gone!
    Suzuki dropped the sporty Swift (GT?), I bought the fog light accessory from them and mounted it to my 1991 Geo Metro (even the switch mounted on the dash) Gone!
    For 2000, the only difference from the 1999 is 2 new colors!
    We did get airbags (ok, so it became law), a 4 cylinder engine (we needed that), but why, why, why, take away the rear hatchback release lever?? That just didn't make sense! Not even offering it as an option.
    Well, they DO offer it in Japan! Suzuki kept the "good" stuff for home. If I could find a point of contact over there, they could ship it to me! Hummm.......
    I asked Suzuki of America (Brea, California).
    Their response was, "You'll have to direct your questions to Chevrolet..."
    Give me a break!
    Oh, well- if the 2000 model is indeed the last one, I'll have a classic.
    The Suzuki Swift, GM (Chevrolet Metro, Pontiac Firefly), reminds me of the original VW Beetle.
    A "peoples car" that is inexpensive and can take you from point "A" to point "B". I haven't read one article from an auto magazine that praised the little car (but back in the '50s neither did the VW!). It's small, noisey, get's great gas mileage (sound familiar?).
    Maybe history will change all that.
  • Just to clear up what may be a misunderstanding here....The Suzuki Baleno is the same car as the Esteem. It's available in hatchback, sedan and wagon versions in Japan and some other markets, but (with the Esteem badge) only in wagon and sedan versions in North America. The same car is (or was) known as the "Cultus Crescent" in Japan (another ringer from the market that gives cars names like the "Bongo Friendee" and "Homy Elgrande"). There are at least 5 different engines for this car, in different markets: 4 gasoline and one (Peugeot-designed) diesel. The 1.6 litre is alive and well, at least in Canada -- it's in the sedan. The wagon comes in a 4WD version in Japan and as I recall some European markets, too (Iceland, for example).

    The relationship between the Baleno/Esteem/Cultus and the Metro/Swift is also interesting. In North America, we have the "third generation" Swift (aka Metro). The B/E/C is a derivative of that design, and a lot of the parts are identical. So the person who spoke about putting a 1.6 B/E/C engine into a Swift may be perfectly correct. In Japan, meanwhile, the Swift is what we would recognize as the second generation Metro.

    All very complicated.

    On another point, I certainly agree that Suzuki and GM do a terrible job promoting the Swift/Metro. I own an Esteem (a Baleno or a Cultus, if you prefer), and whenever I visit the dealer I look affectionately at the Swift. Some imaginative marketing could have done a lot for that car.
  • Hi everyone,
    I have enjoyed reading all the posting about the metro. I am a new metro owner, 98 Lsi coupe. I bought the car used w/11k miles, auto & air for $5800.00, this is slightly below whsl I believe?? I am very happy with it so far, I drive about 60 miles RT/day all freeway. At first the high revs at 65 mph was annoying but now I'm getting used to it. This seem like the perfect commuter car (my first car was a '63 vw) and drives/handles well. I'm encouraged to hear that with regular maintenance I should expect many years of service. Does anyone have a line on aftermarket AM/FM/CASS for the metro, I would like one as close to factory as possible. The dealer wanted $350 for one!!! Also looking for a rear shelf (grey interior), again dealer = $240.
    I am sad to hear that GM plans to drop the metro, how will this affect replacement/repair parts? I do plan to keep this car and hope it doesn't become another Ugo. Looking forward to reading your replys.

  • you need to read back on all the posts in the topic...all kinds of good stuff...go to eBay and search for Geo radio. You'll see the factory-type AM-FM cassettes. GM charges $495 new from the factory, $350 or so for a new one from the parts shop, but on eBay they sell for $25 to $75. I got mine from a guy in Indiana for $40 plus shipping. It is the all electronic one with auto inject/eject, gobs of features, and it fits perfectly. If you can't find one, your local newer-car scrapyard can get you one for about $75-$100. The 2000 Metro has a no-credit option called radio prep where you get your antenna and four cheap tinny speakers for free. Don't forget to change your speakers. I'm saving up for a set of Sony xPlods right now. The 6.5"S size is available from Crutchfield now.

    Glad you chose well, and you can row he slushbox manually and hold first to about 40mph, second to about 65mph, and you can keep up with larger cars. Otherwise I think it shifts too early. In town I hold first to 15mph, second to 25-30mph, to keep it smooth. You'll notice Honda automatics last forever and they don't shift early.
  • I found CAMI's website. It is a link from Suzuki Japan's website

    It's a nice site, and they offer a feedback form which I filled out completely. That is a great facility, reminds me of when I worked at the Honda Civic plant in East Liberty, Ohio.

    It seems to me Suzuki would be smart to transfer left-hand-drive Esteem production (including hatchbacks, please!) to CAMI, then produce all right-hand drive models in Japan and elsewhere. Most LHD models stay here anyway.

    The 1.3 liter hatchbackss have a choice of 5-speeds and 3-speed automatics. 1.6 liter hatchbacks have the same choices. Only the Australian-spec hatchbacks and all sedans and wagons have four-speed automatics from what I see.

    Makes me think the 1.8L/4SA combo from an Esteem will fit my Metro. I'll have to pull out the tape measure and figure it out. If not I wonder if I can just swap whole front clips. Means I have to wreck mine...and then find a shop willing to cut and paste.

    Too bad the hatchback isn't available in Canada...I would move there to get it. I might move to Australia, those 1.8 GTi's look like fun!
  • that's:


    And one more thought...when someone asks me for a ride I warn them I drive a Metro. I'm four for five in getting them to stay behind. The one person who rode with me, well, he traded his '88 Camaro V6 for a 1996 Metro sedan. Funny huh? He liked it because he knew he could drive like a maniac in first and second in town, and still get 30mpg. He got lucky and found a 4-cylinder, 5-speed, LSi sedan with power steering, tach, defroster, even power locks. It must have been special ordered new, no dealer buys them like that with a stick.
  • Wow! I've should have seen it. But I was so engrossed in the hatchback, I didn't bother to view the sedan & wagon model. Of course, now I see the resemblance.

    Metro Automatic. A possible solution.
    Does anyone remember years (and years), ago when Plymouth and Dodge imported a couple of subcompacts called the (I think), Dodge Colt and Plymouth Champ. I think the manufacture for those two little cars was Mitsubishi.
    Anyway, it had a shift on the final drive. As I remember, it said: "Power" and "Economy". You could change the gear ratio on the differential.
    It seemed pretty neat. I've wondered if Suzuki/Chevrolet incorporated this in the Metro for the Automatic, I bet during highway driving, you could really improve your mileage quite a bit and cut down on the high rpm.
    Funny this never took off (were there problems?).
    I believe this was back in '79 to the early '80's.
    Doe's anyone remember that?
  • I live just north of Seattle, Washington.
    Just 1 week ago, I was paying $1.29 per gallon for regular at a Chevron truck stop not too far from where I live.
    Yesterday, I filled up at the same place with the same grade of gas (regular) at $1.49!
    I've read in the newspaper it could go higher to $1.75 for regular before it stablizes.
    Glad I bought a Metro!
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Thanks, lorbeertlc. Please share your report with us: What do you pay for 1 gallon of gas? See you there!

  • Yep, I paid $1.639 for a tank of regular, still had to spill a little to get $14 in. I think this tank will last awhile because I am not couriering due to a license problem at the moment. Good timing for the BMV to catch up with me...when gas is expensive.

    The 2-speed differential is a good idea, but I think if my transmission ever fails I will simply have a taller final drive installed, maybe 3.23:1 instead of 3.61:1. That ought to give better mileage, although it will be more sluggish in town, then again it is slow now, so why not? I figure they are building an economy car, why not go all the way? The Sprint ER and Sprint Metro and Metro XFi were standard Metros fitted with a 5-speed stick and highway gearing. Makes one wonder if the transmissions are interchangeable between 1989-1994 models and 1995-2000 models. The taller final drive would make a big difference. If I ever trade this car for a standard and I ever need to do work to it, it would be the perfect time to find a good pre-1995 XFi transmission to hook up to it. I know it will fit a 3-cylinder, but probably not the four. The ratios for the 3- and 4-cylinder 1995-up Metros are different so I think the transmissions may be slightly different, too.

    I would like pop-out quarter windows in my Metro, too. They are easy to replace due to vandalism, three screws and you're done, the glass is cheap and plentiful, and it's a way to save $40 for a locksmith by keeping a spare $10 window at home.

    Maybe I ought to buy a 1992-1994 XFi. With air. Now that woiuld be rare!
  • Back in 1991 when I bought my Metro (base, not XFi), I originally wanted to get an XFi for the fuel mileage. I found out a couple of things.
    1) The XFi has lower horsepower. XFi gets 49 HP while the base and the LSi gets 55.
    2) The XFi fuel is leaned out considerably.
    3) Chevrolet GEO strongly discouraged anyone ordering optional air conditioning for the XFi. It wasn't offered in group packages for the XFi.
    Because of the already leaned out fuel to air ratio on that model and the reduced horsepower, GM mechanics said if I ordered A/C for the XFi, it would void the warranty for the engine. In fact, I believe at the time I couldn't get a/c from the factory for the XFi. So I went for the Metro base instead (I lived in southern California and A/C is mandatory!).
    Now get this, the LSi has 3 rings for its pistons while the XFi and Base has 2. I bought a 1991 GM service manual for the '91 Metro and it shows it.
    Go figure on that one.
  • I am neg. for a l997 Geo Metro, 2dr, LSI, Auto, Air, 4 cyl engine. I now have a 1992 Geo Metro stick. After reading comments in town hall about the auto, which I have not driven, I am in doubt if the automatic has enough power? Can someone enlighten me.
  • I had a one of those dodge colts. A 1980 4sp with the power/economy shifter. I don't think i ever notice the difference..... but it looked cool though. I got the car for free.... it was the best piece of crap i ever drove.
  • Recently bought 97 Geo Metro LSI sedan. At speeds of 55+ mph, if we take pressure off of accelerator, we are hearing and feeling a strange ???. Hubby thinks it is a sympathetic vibration off something in engine compartment or just below. Any ideas? We don't see anything loose.
  • I'm not sure it this is it. But when I bought both of my Metro's ('91 & '94), I had an awful vibration and found it to be coming from the standard tires, Goodyear Invicta's.
    When and bought a set of Sear's Michelins (12 inch). They were the best tires I've ever invested.
    I don't know if this is your problem, but if you still have the original tires and they are Goodyear Invicta's, you might consider changing them.
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