The Chevrolet Cavalier was first introduced for the 1982 as a front-wheel drive compact car to a North American automobile public demanding smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles. A car squarely directed as a competitor against import compact products (namely the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla), the Cavalier steadily recorded more than 250,000 in annual sales for General Motors from 1983 through to the mid-1990s. In 1995, the Chevrolet Cavalier received a considerable redesign that resulted in a more aerodynamically efficient exterior and a modernized interior. In 1998, the Cavalier was offered as a two-door coupe, four-door sedan as well as a convertible.
Standard features found on the compact Chevrolet included dual front airbags and air conditioning. Base power came from a 115-horsepower, 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine. For the coupe and convertible version of the Chevrolet Cavalier, a 2.4-liter engine generating 155 horsepower propelled a sport-oriented Z24 trim. The 1998 Cavalier Z24 models also included a sport-tuned suspension and 16-inch alloy wheels. A sedan version of the Z24 model was added in 2002. In 2001, the Chevrolet Cavalier discontinued its convertible focusing only on the hardtop products. Engine power underwent a major change in the Cavalier in 2002 with the base powerplant being replaced by an Ecotec engine.
Consisting of an aluminum cylinder head and engine block, the Ecotec 2.2-liter powerplant was smoother as well as more potent than its predecessor. The Ecotec 2.2-liter engine gave 140 horsepower to the front wheels of the Cavalier. The 2003 Cavalier introduced a mild exterior styling refresh took place with the Cavalier involving more aggressive-looking headlights and more grille work above the front bumper. In 2005, Chevrolet chose dropped the Cavalier nameplate with the arrival of a completely new compact car called the Cobalt. After 23 years, roughly 7.3 million Chevrolet Cavaliers were produced.