Chevrolet and Geo Cars and Trucks For 1998
By Carey Russ
There are changes afoot at the sign of the bowtie. The Geo brand is no more, having been absorbed into the Chevy nameplate. The former Geo line of small cars and sport-utilities is still available, but with a Chevy bowtie instead of the Geo globe. The Prizm is an all-new car this year. In the more traditionally Chevrolet side of the line, the Camaro has gotten a moderate restyling and a new engine -- the same aluminum LS1 V8 as is found in the newest-generation Corvette. Corvette production is now up to speed, and a convertible version of America's oldest sports car is available.
Performance fans, rejoice! The 1998 Camaro is here. With dramatic new front styling and chassis upgrades on all models, and a 305-horsepower V8 under the hood of the Z28, it's a seriously sporting machine.
Most apparent of the changes to the Camaro coupes and convertibles is the new front end. A shorter front overhang should make it more driveway-friendly, and the new air intake, headlight, fender, and hood styling give it a very businesslike demeanor. The business is performance. The 200-horsepower 3800 Series II V6 is nearly as powerful as the V8s of some competitors, and far more fuel- efficient. The Z28 models have a modified 5.7-liter Corvette LS1 V8 with 305 horsepower -- the same as last year's limited-production SS. V6 models have a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission; V8s get a 6-speed manual or 4-speed automatic.
The 1998 Camaro has handling and safety features to balance its power. All models now have 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, as well as safety-cage construction and daytime running lights.
Even the name isn't quite the same. No longer a Geo, the 1998 Chevy Prizm has a new look, new engine, refined suspension, and upgraded interior. It is still built at NUMMI in Fremont, California.
Two trim levels are available, both powered by a new 1.8-liter 4-cylinder with 15 horsepower more than last year's engine. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard, with 3- or 4-speed automatic optional. The full-featured interior and large trunk make it a good small family car. It is one of the few cars in its class to have available side airbags.
The fifth-generation Corvette coupe was a hit when it made its debut early in the 1997 calendar year. Now it is joined by a convertible. The 1998 Corvette convertible was designed from the beginning as a convertible, and is nearly as rigid as the coupe. The manually-operated top can be raised or lowered in seconds, and has a heated, glass rear window for long-term visibility. There is room for two sets of golf clubs in the trunk. Like the coupe, the convertible's leather-appointed interior is roomier and more accessible than ever thought possible in a 'Vette. This is one civilized beast.
Under the hood is a lightweight 345-horsepower aluminum V8 engine. Although it has the same 350 cubic inch displacement as the legendary cast iron "small block", it is a completely new design. A 4- speed automatic is standard, with a 6-speed manual gearbox optional. The racecar-like fully independent suspension comes in three states of tune to please every customer from the boulevard cruiser to the weekend racer.
Lumina & Monte Carlo
Also new in both the Lumina LTZ and Monte Carlo Z34 performance models is the 200-horsepower 3800 Series II V6 engine.
The midsized Malibu sedan is designed to take on all foreign and domestic competition in its class. It was new last year, and has minor trim changes this year.
Up until the absorption of the Geo line, the Cavalier sedans, coupes, and convertibles were Chevy's smallest. Most models have only minor changes this year. The LS convertible has been replaced by the Z24 convertible, which means a much sportier Cavalier convertible.
Now with a Chevrolet badge instead of Geo, the Metro is offered in hatchback coupe or sedan body styles. Both have freshened exteriors and revised interior trim. The coupe has a standard 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine, and optional 1.3-liter 4-cylinder, which is the standard engine for the sedan. Both engines have been upgraded this year.