And the current version is supposed to be an improvement? Having owned a 2000 Cavalier base (ex-Henrico County car) with 200k on it, I’ll take the blue one any day.
It’s incredible to see how good the visibility was in cars back then. The higher beltlines and thick C pillars of today’s vehicles make driving a bit more difficult. Wish a return to previous large glass areas, doubtful it will ever happen.
The high beltlines are driven by side impact standards. I have NO idea why every carmaker on the planet has decided that the rear 3/4 view should be an enormous blindspot though.
The spindly Cavalier roof wouldn’t take 5.5x the curb weight of the vehicle to crush 6″, either. I’m the delicate and expensive to repair bit, give me the new one. I’d rather have a 35 mph crash in the new one over anything but a light fender bender in the old one. The old one has no whiplash protection for someone my height, and little protection of any other kind by comparison.
Saab somehow managed a pretty impressive result in 1966. Almost like they gave a crap about not killing their customers.
Blind spots begat blind spot monitors. Such is the march of automotive technology.
The higher beltlines are driven by stylists not safety…Its a styling trend making cars or SUV’s look “tougher” or more hunkered down. There is no safety reason for the sharp upsweep of the back door windows or the huge expanse of metal in the C pillar….Yes A pillars are fatter due to housing airbags but there is no additional side impact structure at the belt line…
Thank you! Safety sells today, and stylists know it. If you ever look inside a door you won’t see the impact beam anywhere near the sill, and if high beltlines did have any effect on safety the windows probably wouldn’t roll down.
Old cars are pretty. And dangerous.
Putting a soft human body designed for walking speed in a thing that can do what cars can do is an inherent risk. There are millions of dead and maimed to attest. Death and injury rates are miles below the ’60s, and the ’80’s when this Cav appeared, despite many more cars being sold now than then.
Safety doesn’t sell: it is a mandated (and market-competitive) necessity, perfected and refined by truly brilliant engineering. Far from knowing that “safety sells”, I wouldn’t doubt most stylists have a very hard time working around very tough, immovable engineering requirements (that and the marketing dept, but that’s a digression for another time!)
That engineering has limits. When you watch a slo-mo crash test, do you think the stupendous g-forces are over when the front crumples up? No. Without looking it up, it’s at absolute most 50%, meaning that the remaining structure has to stay rigid and not squash you. The bounce back you see after the crumpling is not the dissipation of speed, but the unwinding of a spring forces. That passenger shell absorbs gigantic tonnages of force, compresses ever so slightly, and releases. If it reached bending point, you’d be squished. The engineering of this is a modern wonder of the world. But the consequence is thick pillars and doors and smaller windows. It cannot (currently) be done other wise.
I agree only that the kick-up at the rear seems a weird and annoying fad, but put a caveat that it might itself be another unavoidable result of that engineering, simply because it’s been so long-lasting and universal.
Geez, I’d almost rather walk, but if I had to I’d take the Cavalier.
We bought about 20 of those Cavaliers for our field people. They were actually terrific cars that got good gas mileage. When we replaced them with Blazers, we had people running out of gas all over NY.
I have to shake my head a bit as people buy CUV’s by the millions, partly because they don’t want to drive “station wagons” like their parents did (of course, now it’s minivans too).
As your photo points out, what is a CUV, other than a tall station wagon with AWD?
I think that I would rather have the Cavalier, but with the Buick’s steering and suspension. But then, I once owned a J2000 so I know how “generally” reliable these cars are/were.
One is an is deigned and built by the American arm of GM, the other by Daewoo, now known as GM Korea.
Not sure if this is a statement about how far Korean car design advanced, or America’s inability to build anything resembling a compact car.
A good find. Even better would be an XT4 and a Cimarron side by side.
I’ve had my Encore for almost 2 years now and still really like it.
It’s interesting to see these two compacts side by side. It’s almost a reverse of the transition from the 40s to the late 50s. Back then, the in thing was to go “longer, lower, wider”. Now, we are going through the reverse where “longer, lower, wider” are the older cars and things are starting to get more upright and narrower, but still are a “compact”
I will take the Cavi. The Cavalier wagons were always attractive to me. The Buick looks like every other crossover
I do find it funny that the Cavalier actually looks like it sits higher then the Buick. The Cavalier is over the parking curb and you can see that it clears it with some room and there will be no scrape sound backing up.
The Buick by contrast looks like it could get beached on it
That Encore looks like a bloated tick. And look at the greenhouse on the Cav, you can actually see out of it. I had two J-cars in the eighties, a Pontiac and a Chevy, and they were both good cars.
I have ridden in one of these Buicks. I have also ridden in Cavaliers. I will take the new Buick all day every day.
Nice catch with the Cavalier, cannot remember the last time I saw one around Tualatin. Sure does look in good shape for its age and I like the Electric Blue. Since the Cavalier is old enough it would be amusing to put Special Interest Plates on it, but then you are restricted by how many miles you can drive and what you can use the car for
I’ve been in the Cavalier as well, and while I have not driven the Buick, would probably prefer it for any number of reasons, the styling being pretty low on the list actually.
What’s our definition of “wagon” here, anyway? I’d class the Buick as a Hatchback, I always figured that a wagon needs a rear side window and at least a D-pillar and preferably the rearmost window is wider than the glass in the door next to it (although the window size aspect issue has gotten a bit murky over the years). Certainly the body shouldn’t be any shorter in overall length than a sedan version of the same vehicle, were it to exist.
Funny how bad car shapes have gotten where a J body not only looks better, but is the smarter package. The Buick looks like an embellished cartoon facsimile of a car from when that Cavalier was new.
I find modern cars to be appaling. Most of them, at least. The Encore takes the cake as the prime example as to why the automobile is de-evolving…I would rather take the Cavalier, as it is not only the smarter choice, but it is also something I could take to a car show and few could complain about.
I complain all the time on here about the lazy, creasy looks of many new cars, with their silly tiny windows and such, but those Cavaliers were floppy, cheap, buzzy GM crapwagons, although pleasant looking. I’ve owned three, an ’83, an ’89 and a ’94. All were cheap wheels but nothing nice. So I would gladly take the Buick even though it looks like Mork from Ork is going to exit it any minute.
I need to get my red and silver shirt on.
Not gonna lie, I’ll defend the Encore here because in my opinion it’s my favorite car ever. And I owned a Honda, leased two mini Coopers, and married into a Toyota.
Polar opposite styling. A nice compromise between the two exterior designs might look something like the original Taurus/Sable. A design many would feel is more attractive and cleaner that either of these examples. With attributes of both these respective designs. With excellent visibility retained. While looking infinitely more stylish than the Cavalier.
Interestingly, I recebtsaw Vibe immediately followed by an Encore. The Vibe really does look like an amalgamation of the Encore and the Cavalier.
That is a fantastic looking Taurus/Sable. Those rims really work for it.
I just noticed they are from the 2000-2003 model, with the spokes painted. Very well done and not expensive.
The wheels actually look nice on that Sable wagon! Good shot.
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