The Toyota Cavalier is a compact car marketed by Toyota in Japan as a badged version of the third-generation Chevrolet Cavalier from 1995 to 2000.
History of the Toyota Cavalier
As part of a wider effort to avoid additional restrictions on exports to the US, the third-generation model was briefly sold in Japan by Toyota under an agreement with GM, badged as the Toyota Cavalier. All models featured wheels borrowed from the Pontiac Sunfire. The Toyota Cavalier was available in 2.4G and 2.4Z trim levels. While all Chevrolet-badged Cavaliers received a facelift for 2000, the Toyota did as well with the updated center console, headlights/hood/front bumper, tail lights, and colors available. TRD made a body kit and rear wing for the Cavalier, available exclusively in Japan. The Cavalier was entirely produced by GM in the US at the Lordstown Assembly location and sold from 1995 to 2000. The 1996-2000 Toyota Cavaliers came equipped with the 2.4L LD9 engine, while 1995 used the 2.3L Quad 4. Due to the engine displacement and width dimensions (1,740 mm (69 in) for the coupe, 1,735 mm (68 in) for the sedan) exceeding Japanese government regulations concerning exterior dimensions and maximum engine displacement, it was not considered a "compact" so it was sold as a "normal-class car" like the Toyota Mark II and Nissan Skyline. Prices for the coupe started at 2 million yen for the coupe and 1.81 million yen for the sedan. The final Toyota Cavalier was imported in 2000. The introduction of the Toyota Cavalier was not the first time the Cavalier was sold in Japan. Yanase Co., Ltd., a Japanese retail dealership that started importing European and North American vehicles soon after the end of World War II, sold various GM products including the Cavalier. When the decision was made to sell the Cavalier as a Toyota, this disrupted operations at Yanase. When the Toyota Cavalier was canceled, Yanase continued to sell Chevrolet and other GM products. Yanase also provides complete maintenance services for all vehicles sold. Due to higher than typically average vehicle inspection costs, a fair number of these vehicles are re-exported as Japanese used cars, most notably to Australia and New Zealand. Production of the Toyota Cavalier ceased in June 2000. Despite Toyota making considerable efforts to sell the Cavalier on the domestic market, the Japanese public perceived the quality of workmanship to not be up to the standard typically expected of locally built cars. The car was also introduced while Japan was in a recession following the 1991 collapse of the Japanese asset price bubble or "bubble economy." The Toyota Cavalier was raced in the GT300 class of the JGTC from 1997 to 1998, without much success.
In 1997, Toyota retailed the Toyota Cavalier in the Japanese market with a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of around ¥2 million (¥2.18 million or $16,000+ in 2023) for the coupe version and around ¥1.81 million (¥1.98 million or $15,000+ in 2023).
Specs and Performance of the Toyota Cavalier
- 2,392 cc (146.0 cu in) LD9 DOHC I4
The Toyota Cavalier's 2.4L engine delivers 150 hp (112 kW) at 6,000 rpm and 160 lb-ft (217 Nm) of torque at 4,400 rpm. Toyota marketed the Cavalier as a front-wheel-drive (FWD) vehicle, and it was available with a 5-speed manual transmission. The Toyota Cavalier accelerates from 0–60 mph (0–97 kph) in 8.6 seconds with a top speed of 123 mph (198 kph). Dimension-wise, the Toyota Cavalier measures 4,595 mm (180.9 in) long, 1,735 mm (68.3 in) wide, and 1,395 mm (54.9 in) high. Its wheelbase measures 2,645 mm (104.1 in) and has a curb weight of 2,866 lbs (1,300 kg).
Toyota brought the classic Chevrolet Cavalier to a new level with its own badged version, the Toyota Cavalier. An iconic compact car, it was produced and marketed by the renowned Japanese manufacturer from 1995-2000.