Baby Chevrolet Bolt, Modern Chevy Caviler Z24 and Inexpensive Standard Tech [Ask Nathan]

lexus isf bmw m235i

  • I heard about a baby Chevrolet Bolt. Is that for real?
  • Modern Chevrolet Caviler Z24?
  • What’s a good starter vehicle for track days?

The first question comes from Twitter (@Nathanadlen) about a baby Chevrolet Bolt he saw in China.

(Via Twitter@NathanAdlen) I sent you a photo of this baby Chevrolet Bolt from China. 

Is this for real? Will Chevy be building something like this for our (USA) market?

Keep rocking in the free world!

Phil from Longmont

A: Greetings Phil and thanks for the photo!

What you sent me was the Baojun E100, which is a Chevy product that has been replaced by the better performing Baojun E200 (pictured). It has a lot of the same tech as the Bolt built on a much smaller platform that’s meant for mostly city driving. It is rated at up to 168 miles on a single charge and can comfortably hold two people. It’s a lot like the Smart Fourtwo in its overall size and look including a tailgate that lowers in back.

While the design is interesting, I doubt Chevrolet will sell them in the United States.

N

The next question comes from another Chevy fan who wants to see if Chevrolet would build a Chevrolet Cruze Z24.

Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback Performance parts

Q: Hi Nathan, I read your response to someone asking about Chevy making a 220 HP Cruze SS.

[You can read that post (here)]

Your answer sounded about right. Now what about building off the retro 80’s Cavalier Z24 Hatchback theme? Chevy already has the 2.0T 250 HP variant in the Malibu lineup. All they’d need to start with is a Cruze Hatchback RS, install the 2.0T engine, tune the suspension a bit more for handling, add Z24 badging (okay, fine that it’s a Cruze Z24), & a performance-sound exhaust, so we can hear it going past like the 80’s versions did. None of this should be unreasonable to do or out of reach in costs for The General. Just think, that little bugger would be fast! Please let me know your thoughts?

Thanks for being such a cool guy, Bru

 

 

A: Hi Bru!

Yes, I agree with you. It would be awesome if Chevrolet made other heritage vehicles for fun; however, I doubt it will ever happen. Maybe at SEMA, but I sincerely doubt you’ll ever see one at the dealerships. Only Corvette and Camaro seem to get the serious money for unique models.

The sad fact is: small vehicles are not selling that well and to make an investment to build a special edition hatchback (or small sedan), especially one with a power plant that will only be used in a handful of vehicles, is not in GM’s best interest. The return on investment seems poor in my estimation.

Sorry man. It’s a shame, I think it would have been pretty cool.

N

The last question comes from a fan of small, inexpensive cars (like me) who wants to know which one gives you the best bang for the buck.

2015 Nissan Versa

 

May good fortune find you and your TFL brothers and sisters Nathan! Got a small car question for you. 
I want to find the car that best represents my interests. I drive a lot, all over the state of Georgia as an estate planner and probate consultant. I need a very efficient car that’s inexpensive, but has three things I need. It has to have Bluetooth, Navigation that’s either available or Android Auto to work with my phone and it has to be super thrifty. Having a hotspot would be a big plus too.
I rarely drive people anywhere, so passenger capacity is no big deal.
I don’t mind driving a manual and I don’t care about its design. I need a car that I can put 30-thousand miles on each year for the next five years. Electric and hybrid cars seem too dear for my price range. Oh, I need a good air conditioner too (southern humidity is brutal). I would pay cash, keeping it to less than 15-thousand dollars if possible.
Can you give me some examples? I’m not a big guy like you, I’m 5-foot 7 and I travel fairly light. My old car, a 2009 Honda Fit has 165,000 miles and it worked well but I can’t find a new one in my price range.
Peace and gratitude!
George GA

A:  Greetings George!

Your choices are slim with that max price and having Android Auto/Apple CarPlay and/or navigation along with a hotspot. In fact, there’s only one car that checks every box: the 2019 Chevrolet Spark.

2016 Chevrolet Spark front

Sure, the Nissan Versa sedan and Mitsubishi Mirage are within your price requirements, but the only one that offers everything you stated is the Spark. While I haven’t driven the new 2019 Model, the 2015 I drove (old platform) was not too shabby for the price and I was comfortable on a round-trip drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back.

Not bad for a city car. The new one is said to be better in nearly every measurable way. We hope to test one soon.

If you were willing to dispense with some of your connectivity/Android Auto requirements, the Nissan Versa sedan is very affordable and offers a comfortable ride for the class. Still, I would say that the Spark is comparable and (probably) the one I would choose.

I hope that helps!

Speaking of slow, inexpensive cars…. Just kidding.

Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: asknathan@tflcar.com.

Nathan Adlen
Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.