Outsiders Perspective: The Chevrolet Classic Was Not Just a Rebadged MalibuUnfortunately

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In 1992, some months before I was born, General Motors launched the brand new Opel Corsa B. A thoroughly modern design for a supermini, it replaced the eighties-tastic Corsa A (known as the Vauxhall Nova in the UK) and was a surprisingly competent vehicle from a company that was throwing dud after dud for ages.
But was it really so competent that it has somehow managed to live until today?

GM of course has been no stranger to taking mildly competent vehicles and apparently being so proud of them that they imagine people will never get tired of them. Okay, that sort of worked with the Ford Panther cars but that’s because they were something unique and actually quite desirable. The Corsa B was neither unique, that was the job of the Citroen AX in the supermini market, nor was it particularly desirable.
Competent? Yes, in the same way that one toaster is better at its intended job than another, but you don’t see people making orderly queues to buy the latest and greatest from Breville are you? It’s the same story here.
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However, it’s that competence as an appliance that makes it a success in what PR people adore calling “developing markets.” Who really cares about image, performance, ride quality and handling characteristics anyway? It’s cheap, it gets us around and it doesn’t break down, what else would you want for a car? It certainly is better than trying to play around in the used car market for something that may just break down a couple of blocks from the dealer.
And really, when you have those sorts of requirements it’s not really necessary to give thorough redesigns all that often. With that in Mind, allow me to introduce you to the 2015 Chevrolet Classic.
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It looks like someone hastily glued a trunk into a Corsa B, that would be a silly accusation though. They’ve been producing Corsa sedans since at least 1998; when I was young and idiotic and I suggested my dad to buy one (Badged as a Monza) instead of a pickup truck; so no, it’s actually supposed to look like that. The Press blurb, what of it I can read not knowing Portuguese, flaunts the fact that it is the most affordable 1.0-liter sedan that you can buy in the Brazilian Market. The Price? Around $13,000.
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Standard equipment includes a digital odometer (ooooh!) brake light (aaaah!) and side-protection impact beams (Actually quite useful and thanked for in something that will no doubt being used in the school run). Say whatever you want about the Mitsubishi mirage feeling like something straight out of the 1980’s but this actually IS from a time when Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” was one of the hottest things on the radio. The only reason such a thing keeps on existing is that Brazil has such high taxes on cars people would actually want to buy that cars like this are the only choice. The Brazilian government is trying to counter this inequality by….forcing Nintendo out of the country with high taxes.
Oh dear…

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  1. Roader Avatar

    Yup, With the collapse of the socialist utopia Venezuela, Brazil is the next lefty corruption factory to bite the dust. Musta' been that Nintendo didn't shovel enough millions to Brazilian politicians. There's a cycle in Brazil: Union R$ millions + manufacturer R$ millions → politicians = closed market/state capitalism/screwed consumers.

  2. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

    Competente little car indeed if was equiped with the 1.6 engine. At one time I had a Pick-up and my wife a 5 door hatch.
    <img src="https://scontent-b-gru.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xfa1/v/t1.0-9/301723_3568844429513_1819450101_n.jpg?oh=979af96ac8bf233172e3e11ee57b3c4a&oe=559694A9&quot; width="500">

  3. racer139 Avatar

    Is the silver car pictured from a Chevrolet brochure? If so they need to improve the look of the paint on that car… It looks like it is just passable as a paint job. This rig would rust away in less than 3 years here in the NORTH north east.

  4. Maymar Avatar

    <img src="http://cdn.row52.com/images/83c8d2a9-6ad3-44fd-a940-e4a784a06be7.jpg&quot; width=500 /img>
    By your use of "unfortunately," I assume you've never experienced one of these Malibus. You've never turned the key, to hear that warbly, rough engine spring to life, startled, doing its best impression of a smoker's cough. You've never run your hand over the mouse fur upholstery that probably has dirt rubbed into it, or has the seat foam poking through at the collapsed outer bolster. That shifter has never unpleasantly dug into the lower half of your thumb as you tried to operate it. And you've certainly never done a head gasket job on one at just 60k kms (granted, I haven't either, but it was a common thing).
    Granted, I'm not disappointed we don't get a 25 year old Corsa – we already get the Mirage and Micra as our equivalent "better than walking" rides, and I don't feel any regret I own neither of them. I'd just take either of them over the Malibu.

    1. Gerardo Solis Avatar
      Gerardo Solis

      I actually did a thorough trashing of its Oldsmobile badge-job on another site. I agree that the Malibu is the peak of mediocrity but it's preferable to a warmed over 20 year old Corsa

    2. Wildcat_445 Avatar

      Color that thing black, and it would be the Malibu we got rid of a few years back (thanks to a freeway wreck–yes, the lady was OK). At the point it was torn up, it had enough wrong with it which would cost more to fix than it was worth. Even after the rebuild (thanks to the infamous 3100 V6 engine leaking gasket issue that GM was sued over), it sounded like a diesel engine. Add in the plasticky interior bits that were in various stages of just falling apart. I think I'd rather walk, thank you. One of the worst cars we'd ever owned.

  5. Rover_1 Avatar

    There is something worse than keeping a model on.There is the even worse option of replacing it with an inferior car, which GM did in Australasia. We had that model Opel Corsa as the Holden Barina, replacing a rebadged Suzuki Swift/Cultus.GM followed that with the next generation Opel.
    But then that was replaced with the Daewoo Kalos, also badged as a Barina and a 2 star NCAP recipient instead of the 4 star Opel it replaced.Also, the handling and ride dynamics hadn't been sorted, so it didn't drive as well as the previous model. This led to much embarrassment and loss of customers for GM in this part of the world.
    '85-'88 MB Barina
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/50/1985-1986_Holden_MB_Barina_hatchback_01.jpg/1024px-1985-1986_Holden_MB_Barina_hatchback_01.jpg&quot; width="400">
    '88-'94 MF/MH Barina
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/11/1991-1994_Holden_Barina_%28MH%29_5-door_hatchback_%282011-07-17%29_01.jpg/1024px-1991-1994_Holden_Barina_%28MH%29_5-door_hatchback_%282011-07-17%29_01.jpg&quot; width="400">
    '94-'00 SB Barina
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/71/1994-1995_Holden_Barina_%28SB%29_Joy_3-door_hatchback_%282009-02-05%29_01.jpg/1024px-1994-1995_Holden_Barina_%28SB%29_Joy_3-door_hatchback_%282009-02-05%29_01.jpg&quot; width="400">
    '01-'05 XC Barina (4 Star ANCAP Crash/Safety Rating, fun to drive.)
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d0/2003_Holden_Barina_%28XC_MY03%29_SXi_3-door_hatchback_%282008-09-22%29.jpg/1024px-2003_Holden_Barina_%28XC_MY03%29_SXi_3-door_hatchback_%282008-09-22%29.jpg&quot; width="400">
    '05-'08 TK Barina (2 Star ANCAP Crash/Safety Rating, Dull to drive.)
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/49/2005-2008_Holden_TK_Barina_3-door_hatchback_05.jpg/1024px-2005-2008_Holden_TK_Barina_3-door_hatchback_05.jpg&quot; width="400">
    '08-'10 TK Barina Facelift (4 Star ANCAP, still dull to drive but better.)2008-2010
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d3/2008-2010_Holden_Barina_%28TK%29_3-door_hatchback_%282011-11-08%29.jpg/1024px-2008-2010_Holden_Barina_%28TK%29_3-door_hatchback_%282011-11-08%29.jpg&quot; width="400">
    '11to now TM Barina ( 4 Star, improved drive but not as good as Fiesta, better than Yaris.)
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a0/2011_Holden_TM_Barina_hatchback_%283%29.jpg/1024px-2011_Holden_TM_Barina_hatchback_%283%29.jpg&quot; width="400">

  6. Sjalabais Avatar

    In its native Germany, this is one of the least attractive used cars. But reading that you can buy them new as a 2015 model oddly triggers some nostalgia in me anyway. Irrational brain!!
    When this one came out, my grandfather and I had this hobby of picking up brochures, cutting out the cars, and gluing them into scrapbooks. The former Corsa was advertised with Tom & Jerry, which I was fond of. So this Corsa that looks like a half-sucked candy never really got me.
    <img src="http://www.opel-corsa-a.com/Divers/Tom&Jerry 2.jpg" width="600">
    Come to think of it…I might have one of these scrapbooks around still.

    1. Vavon Avatar

      Steffi Graff approves your comment…
      <img src="http://static2.mascoche.net/web/files/2011/05/steffi-graff-opel-corsa.jpg&quot; width="650/">

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Who would I rather play with today? Hm.

  7. Chris Avatar

    That pile is in no way better than a Yaris. Also those Suzuki's were great in the early 90's.

    1. Rover_1 Avatar

      As an over-all vehicle purchase the probably better made Toyota makes more sense. But in terms of it's handling/ride balance and steering quality the Barina is noticeably better than the stodgy Yaris. Those engineers at Holden in Australia don't appear to have been resting on their laurels in the suspension tuning department. In this respect the Barina may differ from the US model Aveo it shares everything else with.