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null 1996 Geo Metro
MPG 42 City / 46 Highway


Madison Avenue likes to tell us that we can, in fact, have it all. But when it comes to automobiles, that only rings true for those buyers who are not hampered by something as pesky as a budget. If your automotive choices are limited by price concerns, then trade-offs really are unavoidable. The Geo Metro is a perfect example. Since its 1989 rollout, General Motors has justifiably touted the Metro as the highest-mileage entry in the fuel-economy wars. And with a base sticker price for hatchback models hovering below $9000 for 1995, the new Metro is definitely not a budget buster. But it stands to reason that if you shell out less than five figures for four wheels, you're going to make some compromises - most notably in the areas of performance and safety measures. Geo designers have wisely made an effort to address both of those concerns. First of all, they've responded to a consumer desire for just a bit more Metro muscle with a 4-cylinder engine in the new sedan, which replaces the manufacturer's old 5-door hatchback. This 1.3-liter SOHC engine offers 70 hp at 6000 rpm - 40 percent more horsepower than the 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine in the now-discontinued 5-door Metro hatchback of previous years. (The 1.0-liter is still the standard powerplant in the coupe.) Also, the 1.3-liter delivers 74 lb.-ft. of torque at 3000 rpm. As for safety, navigating a less-than-2000 lb. vehicle through four lanes of 75 mph traffic is obviously a concern. Geo has responded by adding dual airbags, a steel safety cage surrounding the passenger compartment, front and rear crush zones to absorb and distribute the force of impact, and increased rigidity and body strength. Also, to increase this mini-car's visibility, the Geo Metro sedan comes equipped with Daytime Running Lamps plus taillights that are nearly the size of - and we kid you not - basketballs. The Metro sedan's other standard features include a 5-speed manual transmission (with fourth and fifth gear overdrive), rack-and-pinion steering, child security rear-door locks, split-folding rear seats with trunk pass-through, Scotchgard fabric protector, 13-in. all-season steel-belted blackwall tires, full carpeting, dual manual outside mirrors, bodyside moldings and a center console with cupholders. The Metro's two body styles (3-door coupe hatchback and 4-door sedan) are available in either base or LSi trim levels. Our test sedan carried a base price of $9395 and was equipped with options that included air conditioning, power steering, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, rear-window defogger, tachometer, floor mats and dual remote mirrors. This boosted our test Car's price to $11,275.
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