New & Used Geo Metro: In Depth
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The Geo Metro was a line of subcompact economy cars sold by Geo, the brand set up by General Motors to hold its smaller and more fuel-efficient models between 1989 and 1997. The Metro was the smallest Geo, fitting below the compact Prizm in the lineup.
Sold at various points in its life as three-door or five-door hatchbacks or a four-door sedan--and briefly (1990-1993) a two-door convertible--the Metro was essentially a rebadged version of the Suzuki Swift, which was sold in some areas of the U.S. at the same time. The Metro succeeded the Chevrolet Sprint, which was sold in the mid-1980s first in western states and then nationally until the Geo Metro appeared in 1989.
First-generation Geo Metro models were built in Japan, and offered as three- and five-door hatchbacks or the short-lived convertible. A longer and larger model built in Canada was introduced for the 1995 model year, again as a three-door hatchback or four-door sedan. This second-generation Metro was the first one to offer airbags--two, one each for the driver and front passenger--along with anti-lock brakes as an extra-cost option and standard daytime running lights. With the demise of the Geo brand starting in 1998, this model received a modest styling update to become the Chevrolet Metro for another four model years, ending in 2001.
Engines for the Metro over its two generations included a 1.0-liter three-cylinder and a 70-hp 1.3-liter four-cylinder, later uprated to 79 hp. Transmission choices were a standard five-speed manual gearbox or an optional three-speed automatic.
During the time it was on sale, the Geo/Chevrolet Metro offered some of the highest gas mileage ratings of any non-hybrid car sold in the U.S. In today's ratings, the 1989 Geo Metro was rated at 47 mpg combined with the three-cylinder engine and five-speed, while that same combination in a second-generation car from 2000 was rated at 36 mpg combined. Sales to retail buyers ended after 2000, and the final year of Metro production in 2001 was made up of sedans fitted with the larger engine and automatic transmission, sold only to fleets. (That last year of production receiving only a mediocre 28-mpg combined fuel-efficiency rating from the EPA.)
Geo Metro trim levels included base, XFi (the fuel-economy version), and LSi (the better-equipped model). Base models of the Geo Metro could be extremely basic indeed, sold without hubcaps and with wind-up windows, manual locks, and manually adjustable door mirrors. The same cars were sold in Canada as the Pontiac Firefly.