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Chevrolet Cavalier

1982 Chevrolet Cavalier

The 1982 Chevrolet Cavalier 2-door Hatchback, part of the 1982 Chevrolet Cavalier lineup.
The 1982 Chevrolet Cavalier models included this two-door hatchback.
The 1982 Chevrolet Cavalier debuted to bolster the company's subcompact lineup, which had been represented of late by the antiquated -- but highly popular -- Chevette.

While the Chevette was rear-wheel drive, the new Cavalier bowed with more modern transversely mounted engine and front-wheel drive. As a result, it was more competitive with European and Japanese entries of the day.

Four body styles in three trim levels gave customers a wide choice of Cavaliers. Two-door sedans, three-door hatchbacks, four-door sedans, and five-door wagons were offered in stripper Cadet (except the hatchback), base, and fancier CL trim.

There were a wide range of options available that even included a 6-way power driver's seat and sunroof, in addition to the more expected power windows/locks/mirrors, automatic transmission, and air conditioning.

Styling was from the "three box" school of design, with clean lines incorporating sharp edges, dual square headlights flanking a low rectangular grille, and a tall greenhouse. Siblings at the other GM divisions wore different front and rear fascias all featuring quad rectangular headlights -- which Cavalier would adopt later on.

Initially available only with a 1.8-liter (112-cubic-inch) 88-horsepower four-cylinder engine, midyear brought an optional 2.0-liter (122-cubic-inch) version with 90 horsepower. Also added at that time was a five-speed manual transmission to join the standard four-speed manual and optional three-speed automatic.

Cavalier endured a sibling rivalry with the other members of the J-car family, which included the Buick Skyhawk, Oldsmobile Firenza, and Pontiac J2000. Cadillac also had a version of the J-car, but the Cimarron was in a different price strata entirely.

Cavalier prices ran about $1,500 more than a comparable Chevette, which gave some buyers sticker shock. The most popular Cavalier model, the base four-door sedan, started at $7,137. This was about $500 less than a Honda Accord, but Cavalier couldn't match the Honda's refinement.

Nevertheless, nearly 200,000 copies of Chevy's new subcompact hit the road, though some sales were undoubtedly at the expense of a Chevette or Citation.

1982 Chevrolet Cavalier Facts

Weight range (lbs.)
Price range (new)
Number built

The 1982 Chevrolet Cavalier CL 4-door Sedan, part of the 1982 Chevrolet Cavalier line.
The 1982 Chevy Cavalier CL four-door sedan
appealed as basic transportation.

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