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Bryan
Hagerty Employee

There’s something refreshingly honest about this ’90s Chevy gas miser

It was Winter 2008. The economic crash that year was still nine months away, but the price of gas had crept up to three bucks a gallon.

 

So, I did something surprising—for me, anyway. I bought a 1999 Geo Metro. Actually, it was badged a Chevrolet, so I bought a Chevy Metro. Doubly surprising.

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com:

https://www.hagerty.com/media/maintenance-and-tech/theres-something-refreshingly-honest-about-this-9...

26 REPLIES 26
turbobill
Intermediate Driver

I have an equally boring VW diesel Rabbit. Bought it 16 years ago and still keep it around for the inevitable. Fortunately, almost everything is available for the car so keeping it going is a walk in the park.

 

It's only a matter of time before fuel goes haywire again. In the meantime, I enjoy my fleet of gas guzzlers!

mgbfastback
Pit Crew

I had one of these for 4 years for my daily commute of 70 miles.  I loved it.  Could zip through traffic with ease.  You could race all day and no one knew you were racing!  Felt great when I outdragged a 10 speed bike or 18 wheeler.  Was sad when it finally died  because some lady ran into it when it was parked.

superturbo
Passenger

I took my 84 Mitsubishi Starion to the dealer (who also sold Chevrolet) for repairs sometime in the 1990's and the part they needed was not in stock. Being a good hour from home, I didn't want to come back and waste another day so went into the showroom to decide what to do. There was a cute brown Metro in the showroom with the hood open and when I saw the three cylinder engine, I chuckled. A salesman heard me and said "don't laugh, its a peppy litter car at low speeds". I then took up his offer to test drive and it was "peppy" for what I took to be a motorcycle-sized engine. He then tried to talk me into buying it and I used the opportunity to have him look at the balance of my GM rewards credit car. It turned out I had a $5,500. credit balance (saving for a Vett of course) and the program was expiring in a few months. To make a long story short, after my reward balance, a GM $2,500. rebate, a $1,000. dealer discount my cash, out of pocket cost was $700. ! Of course I took the deal and at first I just let my kids drive it around the backyard. When I finally got it registered and plated, it was my Chicago commuter car. I could get through narrow alleys, down shoulders, push it out of a snowdrift myself, park in spots no one else could fit in and get around the city where and when no one else could move in a traffic jam. As my one friend said when I gave him a ride during rush hour, "you can drive a Rolls and sit in traffic or have this thing and get to where you are going". Unfortunatly, my teenage son got T-boned by a Jeep that ran a red light (he was fine so it was fairly safe) and I got $3,500. since my insurance deemed it totaled. I really miss that little car!

Sajeev
Community Manager

This is the best story about a GM Rewards cardholder that I have ever heard. 

btukwh
Pit Crew

I always liked the Suzuki Swift/Geo Metro. I remember looking at a Swift GTi in the dealer showroom years ago. A little 100hp pocket rocket. I passed on the deal.

 

You don't see many around any more. There's probably a reason for that.

pfridays
Pit Crew

GTI pocket rocket is right with 100 hp. If you replace the fuel inj. with carbs off a GS 1000 Suzuki motorcycle you eliminate the  rev. limiter and gain about 20 to 25 more horsepower. Ball of fun at 9,000 rpm.

Daniel
New Driver

My 1995 Metro is a solid part of my auto fleet. Mine is rust free. I got 48 mpg driving to the smelly Salton Sea one day just for fun. I could never part with it, cause when the chips are down shes ready for battle.

Rick2
Detailer

I never had a Metro but knew people that did. My son in law was a strong guy and when he needed to change the engine he just reached down and lifted it out! I bought the competition, a 1988 Ford Festiva that never gave any trouble and went trough snow surprisingly well. And when I took it on vacation I cruised 75 mph with the A/C on and the sunroof open and was pleased to get over 50 mpg. It was also the only one I ever saw with the factory alloy wheels.

Bmike
Detailer

I had a 3 cylinder Daihatsu Charade in the early 90's.  Peppy little thing, (relatively) solidly built, and it got around 40 mpg.  Good car.

Wedgehead
Pit Crew

I believe the mileage,I've had two non- hybrids break 50 mpg.a 82 rabbit,and an 04 saturn

Wedgehead
Pit Crew

I believe you on the mileage.ive had twonon -hybrids break 50 mpg.both manuals and gas powered. An 82 rabbit and an 04 saturn

Calcifer
New Driver

I rented a Diesel Renault in Israel. At 1st I thought the gas gauge was broken as I drove it a lot but it never moved. Found out it was rated at 88 MPG. Not sure how accurate that was but it did go a long ways. Good thing cause it cost $120 to fill it.

Rex
Passenger

My first job was at a Pontiac dealership and this car was (very appropriately) called the Pontiac Firefly.  After working for a year I was ready for my first "new car'.  We had a very Lime Green 5 door hatch lingering on the lot.  The dealership had put little cartoon firefly decals on the front fenders to try and sell it.  The little decals weren't helping so after a while the New Car Manager pitched me the idea of being the proud owner of it.  He discounted it and with 0.9% interest my payment was $179.00 a month!!!!  Sweet Deal!!!  The car was awesome.  It had the 1.4L 4 cylinder so it went pretty good.  Great on gas.  My friends would grudgingly accept rides in it and it definitely wasn't a chick magnet, but it was good reliable car.  I had a good laugh at the authors reference to the car as having a "buzzy tuna-can vibe", my first big trip in the Firefly (with my future wife) found us on the 401 Highway in Toronto trying to keep up with traffic, foot to the floor, the big 1.4L Suzuki motorcycle engine just buzzing.... Like a Firefly.       

BMWgreg
Passenger

 

I really enjoyed your current article and can relate, my non-car son treats the honda Fit I bought him like a pair of old running shoes, but , like the shoes, it has held up well.  Cheers

brians356
Detailer

How many of these Metros are still on the road? Darn few. I'm still driving my '92 Civic VX (1.5L VTEC-E 5-spd Hatchback) which was EPA rated 48/55 (later revised down to 39/49), best in the US fleet that year I believe. Today with 245K original miles on the engine, it gives me 38 around town, and I'll wager 50+ highway if I set out to prove it. And with 92 hp in a 2094-lb car, and a low CD of 0.30, it runs circles around my '59 Porsche 356.

1fastcat
Intermediate Driver

I bought a chevy sprint brand new , I also bought a 2 dr. metro and a used 4 dr. metro . I'm not kidding , I got between 50-60 mpg traveling I-75 to and from work . Running with traffic . I noticed that the warmer the temperature , the better the gas milage . They saved me a great deal of money while raising a family .When my youngest totaled the big metro , it had 175,000 miles on it ,she was not hurt , it didn't use or leak a drop of oil . Bob

Rk2plus2
Pit Crew

Car is a death trap.  Zero side crash protection.  Lady driving a Chevy Sprint turned left in front of me in my 85 Fiero.  My tiny lightweight Fiero hit square in the passenger side door at 40 mph and almost cut her car in half nearly killing her (months in the hospital).  The Fiero was also destroyed but I walked away unhurt.

Zephyr
Advanced Driver

Ah, the Metro! The car with more names than a con man! The only car I know of where you opened the hood by pressing on the hood ornament. Aside from the occasional green one, virtually all of them were red. 

cosvega76
New Driver

Interesting  that you spoke of the convertible Metro.  I was at a Super Chevy magazine event in 2004 when Chevrolet Specialty Vehicles head Jon Moss retired.  I can't find any evidence of it right now, but as a retirement gift he was supposedly given a Chevy Metro convertible with a 4-71 blown small block in it.  I never saw that car again.

mfp4073
Intermediate Driver

I bought a 1988 Sprint metro brand new from a Chevy dealer in Kansas.  They had no idea the car existed, so I showed them the info. I had at the time.   Six weeks later they called and said come get it.  I ordered a base model.  No radio or anything.  Maybe the largest crowd around a car I've ever seen.  Everyone had a funny looking smile.   $3600. later I was home waxing it.  They made $50 on it.  (I new the owner.)  It had a sticker in the back window that said "Americas fuel economy leader"  Window sticker said 54mpg city,  56mpg highway.  It did better than that though.  Drove it around the U.S. Sometimes driving hours without ever lifting my gas pedal foot off of the floor.  Loved it though, and would get another if they were around.  Made a mistake and sold it for a truck.  It was so short in every category that it was adorable.  All I have is a polaroid of it.

bblhed
Advanced Driver

Back when I was in college I was doing road rallys in converted EVs. There was a guy from Canada that ran a Pontiac Firefly, it was the Canadian version of the Geo Metro convertible, strangely one of my favorite EV moments was when I got to drive that car in Portland Maine it was a fun car.

Pingechoreply
New Driver

As a side note, I owned (for almost two years) the definitively slowest vehicle of the second half of the 20th century: a Peugeot 504 diesel wagon. With the automatic. Slower than a sloth on Thorazine. As a 4 speed, the car would be slightly faster than your Vanagon, but the egregiously mushy transmission sends it to the bottom. A ¾ ton rated capacity, and a smoother ride than a Cadillac (and good mileage) kept me driving it as long as I did. Legendary Peugeot quality forced me to finally ditch it.

DrMindbender
New Driver

My first car in 99 was an 87 Tercel. There was an uphill run of about 2 miles on a local freeway where the car wouldn't hold 60mph in 5th gear, I'd have to downshift. Even with no power, there was something raw, connected, and fun about that little buzzy box. Used about as much gas as my motorcycle, and insurance was about the same too.

 

I finally got back into a tiny little 5 speed, it is a 2001. Nice and analog, doesn't even have traction control. Fix everything on it myself...BUT....this one buzzes in a VERY different way, and gets almost the same mileage...and didn't lose any of the fun, charm, or freedom a little and cheap car brings. It gives me almost 35mpg on the freeway. I bought a Porsche Boxster. I put 40k miles on it in 2 years. Long live little econo-cars!!!

DaveA
Detailer

I purchased a 2019 Ecoboost Mustang as a commuter car. I know, I know. It’s not a “real” Mustang. But with a nearly 200 mile commute, good gas mileage along with a relatively quite interior was a must. 

I’m happy to say that the car consistently averages between 34-38 miles per gallon on that drive, the highest being 39.3 mpg. It usually takes about 1/3 of a tank each way. On smaller two-lane highways with slower speed limits I’ve managed 41.5 mpg. 

Not bad for a car with 310 horsepower and 0-60 times less than 1 second slower than a GT.Ecoboost Mustang. Beautiful, sporty, and practical.Ecoboost Mustang. Beautiful, sporty, and practical.

Tinkerah
Technician

I had an '86 Chevy Sprint for a long time (another poster reminded me of the hood ornament hood latch button!), whenever the mileage dipped below 40mpg I knew it was time to air up the tires again.

Rider79
Instructor

Dumpy little cars, but no doubt fuel efficient.  I never really thought of the convertible version as ugly, though; rather, it was perhaps a bit less dumpy than the coupe, and thus more attractive.