1977, 1978, 1979, 1980 Chevrolet Chevette

1977 Chevrolet Chevette
The modest yet practical 1977 Chevette
racked up impressive sales.

The 1977 Chevrolet Chevette's engines gained a few horsepower in their second season: 57 in standard form, or 63 for the optional powerplant. The low-budget Scooter hatchback added a back seat, but few appearance changes could be noted.

Sales brochures described the Chevette as "the kind of car you tell a friend about." In fact, a survey revealed that 63 percent of Chevette owners had recommended one to a friend. A total of 120,278 regular Chevettes headed toward dealerships in the 1977 model year, along with 13,191 Scooters.

Prices dropped and more standard equipment was added for 1978. But the big news was that a four-door hatchback model joined the lineup riding a 97.3-inch wheelbase -- two inches longer than the two-door -- and this version accounted for more than half of Chevette's nearly 300,000 sales.

The lowly Scooter continued to languish, with only 12,829 demanded by customers; apparently subcompact-car buyers liked to save money, but not enough to drive a stripped-to-the-bone model.

Chevettes enjoyed a power increase for 1979, as the base engine rose to 70 horsepower and the optional version to 74. A one-piece grille replaced the former split design, while "modern" square headlights took the place of the traditional round units. Sales continued to rise, reaching 369,109.

Chevy's subcompact remained largely unaltered for 1980, though new wraparound taillights sat in a revised tail panel, resulting in a slightly different look -- at least from the rear.

In a down year for the industry as a whole, Chevette sales were up significantly over 1979, totaling more than 451,000 units -- a figure that would rank it second only to Chevy's new Citation, which had a much longer model run (sales had started in April of 1979).

While more and more economy-car rivals were moving to front-wheel drive, Chevy's subcompact remained rear drive. Despite its recent power increase, a Chevette struggled to produce even modest acceleration, but economy was terrific.

Consumer Guide® testers managed "an honest 29 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway." Though the editors also bemoaned the car's inefficient use of space and generally outdated design, there was no question that the Chevette continued to be a strong force in the subcompact-car marketplace.

1980 Chevrolet Chevette
The 1980 Chevette provided affordable transportation
for first-time car buyers.

1977 Chevrolet Chevette Facts

Model

Weight range (lbs.)

Price range (new)

Number built

Chevette

1,898-1,958

$2,999-$3,225

133,469

1978 Chevrolet Chevette Facts

Model

Weight range (lbs.)

Price range (new)

Number built

Chevette

1,932-2,035

$3,149-$3,764

298,973

1979 Chevrolet Chevette Facts

Model

Weight range (lbs.)

Price range (new)

Number built

Chevette

1,929-2,057

$3,437-$4,072

369,109

1980 Chevrolet Chevette Facts

Model

Weight range (lbs.)

Price range (new)

Number built

Chevette

1,935-2,048

$4,057-$4,736

451,161

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