1986, 1987 Chevrolet Chevette

1986 Chevrolet Chevette
The 1986 Chevette saw no significant upgrades
as the model neared the end of its run.

The 1986 Chevrolet Chevette had seen sales that dwindled rapidly, but the antiquated rear-wheel-drive Chevette remained in the Chevy lineup -- despite a spate of new front-drive rivals that would join it in dealers' showrooms. These included the Sprint built by Suzuki, the Spectrum from Isuzu, and the Nova, which grew out of a joint venture with Toyota.

With sales expectations low, there was little point in changing the Chevette much for 1986, and Chevy didn't; just a new bow-tie emblem for the grille and some additional standard equipment.

Powertrains were a rerun, except that the 51-horsepower 1.8-liter diesel was no longer welcome in California. Prices went up by about $300 to an opening bid of $5,645. But among its front-drive showroom rivals, only the tiny Sprint cost less, at $5,380. The Spectrum (which started at $6,658) and the Nova (at a whopping $7,435) were clearly in a different price strata.

As a result, the Chevette managed once again to top the magic 100,000 mark in sales -- though just barely -- which was enough to keep it alive.

In a final attempt to spark sales, Chevy dropped the price of admission to just $4,995 for 1987, lower than it had been since 1980. It also dropped the diesel engine option, which had attracted only 324 buyers in 1986. But despite the cost reduction, sales fell to just more than 46,000, and the Chevette had reached the end of its rope.

In its dozen years on the market, Chevette had earned a reputation for being a simple, straightforward car offering high fuel economy and steadfast reliability. But it also suffered from a cramped interior, poor ride and handling (at least by a mid-1980s yardstick), lazy acceleration (by any yardstick), and a lack of general refinement.

Still, it left in its wake a sea of happy owners, and many no doubt mourned its passing.

1987 Chevrolet Chevette
Sales for the 1987 Chevette plummeted,
despite a price reduction.

1986 Chevrolet Chevette Facts

Model

Weight range (lbs.)

Price range (new)

Number built

Chevette

2,080-2,320

$5,645-$6,487

103,244

1987 Chevrolet Chevette Facts

Model

Weight range (lbs.)

Price range (new)

Number built

Chevette

2,078-2,137

$4,995-$5,495

46,208

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