Vellum Venom Vignette: The Brazil Vacation, Part II

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

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.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • 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.

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.