Vellum Venom Vignette: The Brazil Vacation, Part II

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
vellum venom vignette the brazil vacation part ii

A Captiva audience?

Aside from the car-less world of cruise/train travel, my post- CCS Design vacations involve seeing an American on the road only to feel their styling and (more importantly) proportioning are sleeker and prettier. Douchey perhaps, but it’s my benign contribution to American Exceptionalism.

Even if this “proper” Chevy is a German Opel (sold alongside many a Korean Daewoo) introduced in Frankfurt as the Antara GTC. Harley Earl may spin in his perfectly-proportioned grave…but I digress.

Few Americans shall admit a speck of admiration for the Chevrolet Captiva SUV, but the similarly-Korean Cruze is a respectable machine to most. Well, colossal DLO fail at both corners notwithstanding. No matter, its suitably upscale: Chevrolet Brasil offers it as their most premium sedan offering. (At R$75,020)

Strangely, the Cruze 5-door hatch is cheaper (R$71,860) than the sedan: usually it’s the other way in the US. Known as the Cross Sport 6, the Cruze Hatchback looks the business against the usual Brazilian subcompact. Here’s one driving past the scenic Vista Chinesa.

While I have little complimentary to say of Chevrolet’s split plane grille, this Chevrolet Onix wears the face quite well. Sure, the upper half needs to grow a good 1-2″ to meet the hood’s cut-line. Or better still, drop the cut-line instead. But the look is catchy, nicely proportioned on this small canvas.

Chevrolet Brasil made a fetching machine, but this white one in Leblon was kinda rare. And that’s the problem:

(photo courtesy:

Chevys, at least in Rio, are heavy in fleet distributions. Rio is nearly as taxi-centric as Manhattan, but the market wasn’t dominated by something Crown Victoria-esque. There’s Renault, Fiat and Citroen hacks too, so perhaps the Bowtie-branded Daewoos sporting that unique yellow/blue stripe paint scheme are a red herring.

And perhaps there’s no such thing as American Exceptionalism in car design. Not anymore, at least.

Thank you for reading, I hope you have a lovely weekend.

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7 of 13 comments
  • Kovakp Kovakp on Jan 24, 2015

    What's that sweet little Fit-sized CUV behind the Captiva in the first photo?

    • See 3 previous
    • Kovakp Kovakp on Jan 25, 2015

      @Sajeev Mehta Actually, I sought out online photos and comparos of the Mireva and it appears to be a pretty deliberate clone/competitor of the Fit. The latest iteration even has an Odyssey-style kink at the bottom of the B-pillar. That seems pretty silly no matter which vehicle uses it. If I didn't live north of the Great Frost Divide a Fit/Mireva would be my ideal car but I prefer something a bit higher riding with larger wheels.

  • Motormouth Motormouth on Jan 26, 2015

    Here's where that split grille falls on its face. Just plain wrong.

    • Magnusmaster Magnusmaster on Jan 26, 2015

      Ditto with the Spark facelift and apparently the next-gen Cruze. Why is Chevy insisting with a grille that only works in USA for their global products is beyond me. It's even more baffling considering their USA-only products like the Impala don't have that fail grille.

  • Cprescott Yawn.
  • 28-Cars-Later Wrangler people are crazy.
  • 28-Cars-Later "Transition" to layoffs, this guy is the Bob(s) from Office Space.
  • Vap65689119 As a release engineer I also worked in quality, if they are serious they should look at Toyotas business model which has their suppliers as genuine partners, thats how you get a quality product
  • Mike-NB2 I seem to have landed in an alternate universe. $12,000 for a Jeep that's going on a quarter-century old and with an automatic transmission? Wow.