By on October 29, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride will upset some of you. It’s one of those cars that was very common in its day, entirely disposable, and a prime example of the characterless econobox. Yet because it was such a throwaway, nobody ever saved one – except this one.

Visiting us from 21 years ago, it’s a Chevy Metro with 400 miles.

GM introduced its second-generation Metro for the 1995 model year, a rounded and more modern vehicle than the first Geo Metro on offer from 1989 through 1994. The new Metro was again based on the GM M platform, which was really old by the mid-Nineties. M was a slight update to the 1983 Suzuki Cultus platform, and GM used it on various Suzuki, Chevrolet, Holden, and Subaru vehicles around the globe. Like a cockroach, M refused to die and was in production through 2016 as the Suzuki Cultus for the Pakistan market.

But back to the M Metro. Available as a three-door hatchback or derpy four-door sedan with a nice rear-wheel-arch, the Metro was built in Ingersoll, Ontario at GM’s CAMI Assembly. Speaking of which, Canadians experienced the Metro as the Pontiac Firefly while other markets saw it as the Suzuki Swift. North America itself received a new Suzuki Swift, but only as a lowly three-door between 1995 and 2000. Under Metro’s hood was one of three very small engines: A 1.0-liter inline-three, or two different versions of the same 1.3-liter inline-four. Transmissions were five-speed if manual or just three if automatic. The 1.0 used throttle body injection, made 50 horsepower and was available through 2000. It was the last vehicle on sale in North America with TBI. The other two engines offered fuel injection and produced 72 and 79 horsepower, respectively.

The Metro received a new lease on life in 1998, as GM killed off Geo and introduced a Metro wearing a fancy new bowtie. The branding update accompanied revised front and rear clips, and the arrival of an updated SOHC version of the 1.3 engine with 16 valves. That was the last notable update to Metro through its final year in 2001, where only a sedan was available and only in the LSi trim (I4 powered). Metro was eventually succeeded by the recently departed and Daewoo-developed Aveo.

Today’s Rare Ride is for sale on BaT, a website which attracts sensible people who pay reasonable prices for used cars. It’s a three-door in the bare-bones 1.0-liter specification. Over the last 21 years, it’s had one owner and has traveled exactly 402 miles. It has one (recent) service record at a local Chevrolet dealer. Pretty much everything on the Metro is manual, but it does have air conditioning. At the time of writing, there are six days left in the auction, and the Metro’s been bid to a shocking $10,989. We live in Bizarro World.

[Images: YouTube]

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71 Comments on “Rare Rides: A 2000 Chevrolet Metro, Which is New...”


  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    So lemme get this straight. A 20 year old tin can that was driven around 20 miles a year on average is selling for roughly the same that it was new? Make peace with the deity of your choice because the world has minutes left.

    I’m sorry, but these were horrid cars when new. I know there’s an audience out there that looks at the sepia-hued moments of their past and feels the tugs on their heartstrings, but for the love of all things holy, almost $11,000 for this…wow.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      16 bids to this point… sad really. I just know the dealer screwed someone for this too, “Since its a 2000 we can only give you $4,000 on trade”.

      “Make peace with the deity of your choice because the world has minutes left.”

      Make peace with thine provider of eternal torque. So say we all.

    • 0 avatar

      “A 20 year old tin can that was driven around 20 miles a year on average is selling for roughly the same that it was new? ”

      Welcome to Communist World. In Soviet Union old Ladas on used car (black) market cost considerably more than new Ladas. Because of permanent shortages of everything. Eventually communism collapsed.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    402 miles? Wow. The owner had this for when his pickup was getting serviced? LOL

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    This is the perfect moment to crush this car, before anyone drives it.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I was debating, does this need museum placement or just lots of fire?

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        Burn it!

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @28: I just figured out how you and I could become billionaires ;^)

        https://www.alphacars.com/vehicle-details/used-1988-lada-vaz-2106-1300-sl-spencer-ma-id-24194502

        Look what this Niva is going for:
        https://www.alphacars.com/vehicle-details/used-1991-lada-niva-vaz-2121-4×4-acton-ma-id-43497577

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          That’s it, now we just need to secure a supply of them! Lada will be the marque of the 2020s.

        • 0 avatar

          It acquired the status of classic car. That explains the price. It is called Lada Classic in Russia. Zhiguli was its original name. BTW Zhigulevskoe pivo was popular in that period Zastoya, like Russian analogue of Budweiser (not to be confused with Czech made Budweiser which was sold only to Communist elite (Russian analogue of Democratic part) in so called Spetsmagazins.

          • 0 avatar
            msquare

            Not only Communist elite. Also any Westerner. Except the United States, where Anheuser-Busch held rights to the name. Over here, it’s sold as Czechvar.

            How does it taste? Like Budweiser, interestingly enough, only better. One wonders how good Bud was 100-plus years ago.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    “Gee Gryff that Geo Metro is one smooth pushing car.” Al Bundy

    One of my brothers who is not a car person, had a Chevy Sprint and could not kill it, despite trying many times.

    Personally I believe that GM should purchase this vehicle and put it in the front lobby of the Ingersoll facility.

    It deserves to be saved, so that those who keep harping on about how much better cars were, can be shown this and realize just how incorrect their memories are.

    These cheap, survivor cars deserve preservation to demonstrate what many people actually drove.

    As for the remarkably low mileage, wouldn’t that mean that all seals/gaskets etc would require replacement? Wouldn’t the fuel system and gas tank need to be flushed? Since it is reportedly an Arizona car, can I assume that rust would not be an issue?

    What is the story behind it?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Go ahead and throw as much haterade as you want at me, but I sold these back in the day, and they weren’t bad at all. Well, OK…maybe the automatic version was, but with a manual, these were decent little in-town runabouts. Lots of retired folks bought these to tow in back of their motorhomes.

    Worth noting: adjusted for inflation, these would run about $17,000 today, which is about the same price as a contemporary Kia Rio or Hyundai Accent (assuming you can find one, and assuming the dealer doesn’t want to completely d!ck you over and refuse to sell it to you for less than $2000 over sticker, of course). I’d say that makes a good argument for how cars have improved in 20 years.

    • 0 avatar
      Sobro

      Speaking of motorhomes, in a Click and Clack column years ago a correspondent left their Metro in gear while flat towing. Asked if there was anything they could recommend regarding their ruined engine, The Tappet Brothers told the distraught vacationer to look on the bright side, they only had a three cylinder engine to replace instead of a four.

    • 0 avatar
      993cc

      Thank You.

      Possibly most of the hate for this car comes from people who rented an automatic one, which WERE miserable. Possibly it comes from contempt for people whose priorities do not include pampering themselves with luxury features.

      I owned one, and loved it. It was extremely versatile (it could haul more lumber that the larger cars I’ve had since) With chassis and brake upgrades from the many crashed Suzuki Swift GTi’s populating the junkyards, it was a hoot to drive, but still had 3-cylinder fuel efficiency and insurance rates.

      It never failed in 15 rust-free years and over 300000 kms, was easy to self-service and when I was forced to give it away due to an overseas posting, the new owners drove it another two years.

      If the right person buys this for the right reason, they will not be disappointed.

      • 0 avatar
        swester

        What reason would that be? No one is buying a Metro with 400 miles to use as a daily driver. This is some attention-seeking retired nut who wants to take it a local Cars and Coffee to start conversation.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Somewhere around 2010 and 200 miles, the owner decided that if he kept it another decade it would transition to collector status and be worth a lot more than $3000 trade-in.

    He was right.

    For debate: The car’s listing is categorized as “American”.

  • avatar
    DIYer

    Greatest. Economy. Car. Ever. Including. Hybrids.

    If you keep it around 60 mph, you’ll get 50 mpg.

    Usually these have a gazillion highway miles on them, driven by frugal long-distance commuters.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    I have always aimed for more displacement and a longer wheelbase, but I am willing to change. No, I’m not.

    It has recently become apparent that there are two kinds of parts in a vehicle:
    – Those that mile out
    – Those that age out

    Which parts I throw now depends on the category. (This has probably always been obvious to all of you, but I am kind of dense.)

    [Some of the parts that you would think would age out are just fine at the 18-year mark – especially if they are in places where sunlight can’t reach. Rear coil spring insulators (which weren’t readily available)? Rotate the old ones 60 degrees (to a fresh wear point) and move on.]

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      From the listing: “Recent Fuel System Maintenance”… I know -that- feeling.

      (I am getting much better at replacing electric fuel pumps – ideal experience to have for my future fleet of EVs.)

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    Back around 2001-if I remember correctly-I rented one of these from Enterprise; it was two days before Christmas and my Plymouth Voyager had just eaten its transmission. In desperate need of transportation, I called the local Enterprise rental and they had one car remaining-a Geo Metro. It had the 4 cyl and automatic, but it ran and got to to the relatives for Christmas. I drove it for about a week while the trans was being replaced on the Voyager. On the highway it got blown around by passing 18 wheelers, but it certainly beat walking. To this day I have a certain soft spot for these, but not to the tune of $11,000. I do hope someone buys it, it deserves better than the crusher.

    • 0 avatar
      logic

      Similarly, my sole experience with one of these was a 1997 4 door with automatic. Appliance white rental that I used to visit friends and travel up and down the PCH that summer. Miserly with the fuel, it did nothing else spectacularly aside from exist as basic transportation. Distinctly recall motoring down the highway in San Jose at what apparently was an egregious rate of speed, passing all of the other drivers who responded by gawking and gesturing at me while displaying a mix of horror, shock, and possibly a dash of delight that the paltry econobox was capable of what could only equate to supersonic speeds. Pretty certain the gauge was reading 80.

      Is this a museum piece? Maybe in the automotive equivalent of a 3rd rate gallery dedicated to the history of tie dye shirts. Just because it was transportation doesn’t make it remarkable. I have a soft spot for it, but it doesn’t deserve the crusher.

      Buy it, use it, expend its usability. It was meant to be consumed, not curated.

  • avatar
    wdburt1

    One thing I see in these older cars is a steering wheel with spokes at about 4 and 8 o’clock. It’s hard to find it on anything new today. I want it because I like to drive with my more intuitive/instinctive left hand, with my Type A right hand at the ready, and I don’t want to hold my arms straight out until they go numb.

    I’m not sure why this configuration has disappeared. It looks to me like the accumulation of electronic controls on the steering wheel is the culprit.

    The last car I owned with this type of steering wheel was a 2012 Ford Fusion, and insofar as the steering was concerned we were one. When an adjacent vehicle turned into me, my left hand steered me safely around it until we were slowed down and a minor fender-bender occurred.

    I still have it on the 2007 Honda Accord (50,000 miles or so) that I use as my road car. And on the 2006 CR-V I use around town. Setting aside the excess of touch screen and other tech, recent Accord models might be OK but no improvement, really, and the steering wheel just doesn’t live up to the 2007 design.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Still better than any EV on the road today

  • avatar

    I rented one with I3 in 2000. I just came to USA and have no money and car I bought was leaking everywhere. In that case I left my car at local 76 gas station to fix oil leak and rented Geo Metro to commute to work. Driving it was a lot of fun. Driving it on freeway felt like flying WWI fighter around modern jet bombers like B52 because of tight and narrow cabin, all that noise, screaming engine, wind affecting the trajectory. I was fighting for my life.

    • 0 avatar
      80Cadillac

      Great description of the freeway driving in these!
      I’m glad you mention the narrow width. I can parallel park large cars just fine, and I can even parallel park with a small travel trailer in some situations. But when I parked my Metro, I would think I was perfectly in the space, then get out and realize I was a couple of feet away from the curb!
      More than once, my housemate would open her door, see the distance to the curb, and say, “It’s OK, I can walk from here.”
      :)

  • avatar
    80Cadillac

    I ordered one of these new from the factory in late 1996. Why order? Because most of them in stock had power-sucking hydraulic power steering and AC.
    I ordered a black ’97 4-door, 73 hp 4-cylinder, 5-speed manual. I deleted the power steering and air conditioning, so the motor only had one tiny belt to run around the tensioner and drive the alternator. The car was very light and rode on 155/R13 tires, so there was a little effort in parking, but at speed the manual steering was about perfect.
    I weigh 120lb soaking wet with boots on, and I put a sweater on when temps fall below 75F, so the lack of air conditioning was not an issue. The car’s heater was very effective.
    I had a factory tachometer added, specced the nicer seat fabric, and chose the nicer radio/CD player with the savings from the deleted items.
    The car had a formal look to it, and in black, it was like a little limousine. The rear badges were tape/stickers, so I removed them right away, but left the nice cloisonne GEO-globe badge on the nose. People asked me what kind of car it was constantly, in an admiring way.
    Straight-line and top speed are irrelevant here in the NC mountains, but the Suzuki mill had a great sound, revved nicely, and when unencumbered by the accessory drives, was lots of fun to drive on all the curvy and hilly roads. Maintenance was dead-simple, and I could change the oil and filter just by reaching under the front bumper.
    The worst MPG I ever saw was 38, on a tank that was entirely city driving during the winter. Mixed driving was usually about 45, and on a trip, it would return 55 MPG all day long. As someone mentioned above, it wasn’t great to have on the freeway, because it was light enough to be blown a bit by semi trucks.
    So I’m pleased to see this survivor; with the right options, they were pretty terrific. A friend had a 1st gen, 3-cylinder 3-door a few years earlier, and it was durable and no slouch.
    For a mass-market car that sold in the tens of thousands of units, I’m pretty confident that the one I had may have been the only one in the country with that particular mix of options and deletions. I remember it took 4 months to wait for it, because so few had a tachometer. It would be scheduled for build, and then the tach would not be available, and that repeatedly caused it to go to the rear of the queue. But it finally was built, and it was a nice thing.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    A guy I used to know bought one of these because it gave the best gas mileage. (I’d have advised him to buy a Honda Civic, instead.) His Metro was the first car since my 1962 and 1968 VW Beetles to require downshifting on hills.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    These cars did what they were supposed to do good mpgs and relatively dependable service. Disparage them all you want but what more could you ask of a low price subcompact car. My wife and I test drome a Metro 4 door with a 5 speed manual and air but decided on a new 1994 Ford Focus LX wagon with a 5 speed, luggage rack, and air for not much more.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    My concern would be about what happens in an accident. I don’t remember having much opinion one way or the other about the Metro but accidents look like they’d be a major problem. Great mileage or not, I’d prefer not to get mashed by mummy in her Mercedes McCarbunkle while on her phone.

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      These things still had to meet the same crashworthiness standards as every other car. There was a convertible model which a father bought for his teenage daughter. She had a wreck on the interstate. It’s been long enough that I’ve forgotten the details except that I would have expected the car to look like it had been through the crusher. The girl suffered only minor injuries.

  • avatar
    Garak

    I’d hate to try to put that thing in working order. Despite the minimal mileage, many rubber and plastic parts have deteriorated from age, grease has solidified, electric connections oxidized etc. Just place it into a museum somewhere and be done with it.

  • avatar
    mor2bz

    I had one for a while with the 3banger. I really liked
    the steering on it: it was very direct. These cars are styled
    better than much of the rakish BS today.

    Respect.

  • avatar
    bpsorrel

    $18000 and 4 days to go! Wow! Quite an investment!

    Neat little car, better than most of this type of car from the early 2000s (looking at you Austin Metro..). But over $18K for it….

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Prices have gone insane on vehicles so over 18k for a 20 plus year old Metro doesn’t surprise me but I would pass.

  • avatar
    jmo2

    You people are terrible. The price is due to its rarity. It’s a brand new 20 year old car. And however shitty it was and is, someone has a soft spot in their heart for it. They had their first sexual experience in one, they brought their kids home from the hospital in one, their late father bought them one when they went off to college. And buying it will bring them back to the fond memories of their youth.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      You make a good point, but no nostalgia for one of these is worth $18,2 which is the present bid (FOUR days to go). I *hope* its a collector, but even to a collector I don’t see how this is worth $25+ (or thereabouts) which I predict it will do.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo2

        It’s not worth it to you, sure. But it’s worth it to the one bidding.

        I bet there is also a collector market niche for essential new ultra low mile old cars. Sort of like the market for “new in box” toys, action figures, etc. 9 year old you desperately wanted a Millenium Falcon but your parents wouldn’t buy it for you.

        https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/79395/10-star-wars-toys-you-might-own-are-now-worth-fortune

        Personally I’m always fascinated by the back story of how these came to end up in 2021 with no miles. Same with the toys.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Collector vehicles along with what I always called “oddball cars” are a different animal when it comes to valuations, they are always difficult to comprehend if one isn’t not into them. Although this is essentially one of a kind, I think what we are seeing is partially because of the current broken state of the currency. I’d truly like to know/meet who is the market for this example and ask them about where that market is headed.

  • avatar

    Three words:

    “READY FOR LEMONS”

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Give us you tired, your poor, your huddled masses who be darn glad to be driving a used Metro, Corolla, or Escort. Why not an article about what was your favorite car while your finances were bleak and there was little hope of them changing in the near future? My number one contender would be a red Pinto with a Starsky & Hutch stripe. It repulsed the hot sorority women who were waitresses at the restaurant where I was a waiter. Unless it was raining or winter cold in the Midwest. I was real popular on those days. I’ve even got the title for the article: “Misspent Youth and Crappy Cars”. Why this august blog might subtly change its editorial content. In a few years, TTACC might stand for The Truth About Cruddy Cars.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    Don’t look now, but this thing’s up to $18,200. With three days left to go.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    I can’t believe someone would have spirited THIS away like so many GNXs! But stranger things have happened I suppose!

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Thinking about these little ratbags, I have a sort of sneaking respect for them. They worked and they lasted. Nobody got shafted with a crap product that was unreliable.

    But then GM turfed out Suzuki for some unknown reason unrelated to logic or business, and offered the Chevy Aveo made by the incompetent Daewoo company instead of the Geo Metro. It was superior in only one way — survivability if you ran it into a brick wall while it was still working.

    If a brand new 2002 Aveo, complete with frangible ohc drive and tippy suspension, came on the market today, the real question would be — how much the owner should have pay to have it taken off their hands. The Aveo was crap personified. Just google “chevy aveo bag of s**t” and stand back for the invective. Changing “chevy aveo” to “geo metro” in the search term gets you nothing pertinent to the car itself. Biiiig difference.

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