Chevy never intended the Cavalier to be a world beater, but just to fend off foreign compact cars. With compact performance cars becoming a trend in the mid-1980s, Chevrolet released the Cavalier Z24 with a 125-horsepower V-6 and a sportier look. Chevy shut down the Z24 model following the 2002 model year.
The 2002 Cavalier Z24 was available as a sedan or coupe, opening the door to buyers with families to enjoy the sportier and more powerful economy car. In its sedan guise, the Z24 was 180.9 inches long, 67.9 inches wide and 54.7 inches tall. The four-door weighed in at 2,676 pounds and rode on a 104.1-inch wheelbase. The coupe carried the same length, width and wheelbase as the sedan, but it was slightly wider at 68.7 inches, a bit lower, at 53 inches and heavier, at 2,749 pounds.
On the outside, the Z24 come standard with 16-inch alloy rims, 205/55R16 tires, keyless entry, power mirrors, rear spoiler. fog lights, moonroof, variable intermittent wipers and body-colored moldings.
On the inside, the 2002 Cavalier Z24 Coupe had seating for five, and its front seats had 41.9 inches of legroom, 37.6 inches of headroom, 50 inches of hip room and 53.9 inches of shoulder room. In its back seat, the Z24 Coupe had 32.7 inches of legroom, 36.6 inches of headroom, 49.5 inches of hip room and 54.9 inches of shoulder room. The sedan's front seats had 71.9 inches of legroom, 38.9 inches of headroom, 50.8 inches of hip room and 54.6 inches of shoulder room. It's rear seats offered 34.4 inches of legroom, 37.2 inches of headroom, 50.6 inches of hip room and 53.9 inches of shoulder room. The sedan had 13.6 cubic feet of cargo space, while the coupe had 13.2 cubes.
Inside the cabin, the range-topping 2002 Cavalier Z24 came relatively well equipped. It featured air conditioning with under-seat ducts for the rear seats, a cargo net, cruise control, a 12-volt power outlet, carpeted floor mats, power windows and door locks, driver and passenger vanity mirrors, tilt steering, premium cloth seating and AM-FM-CD audio system with six speakers.
While the base Cavalier huffed along with a 2.2-liter engine, the Z24 model received a higher-performing, 2.4-liter, inline four-cylinder engine that produced 150 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 155 foot-pounds of torque at 4,400 rpm. This DOHC engine mated to a Getrag, five-speed manual transmission that pushed the power to the front wheels. A four-speed automatic was available as an option.
The 2002 Cavalier Z24 was no race car, but performed respectably for its class, as it sprinted to 60 mph in an estimated 8.7 seconds and ran through the quarter-mile in an estimated 16.2 seconds. Fuel economy was decent for its era, as the manual-equipped Z24 got 19 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined. The automatic-equipped version got 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined.
Suspension and Brakes
The Cavalier Z24 received an upgraded, FE2 sports suspension. The front suspension was a McPherson strut setup with an anti-roll bar. The rear end used a torsion-beam setup with coil springs, shocks and an anti-roll bar.
Doing the stopping were disc brakes up front and drums on the rear. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes kept things stable during hard braking on slippery surfaces.
Back when they were new, the Z24 Coupe and Sedan were similarly priced, with the former basing at $16,480 and the latter chiming in at 16,580. If you come across one of these sporty economy cars at a reputable dealership and it is in good shape, Kelly Blue Book says it is worth $3,211 in its sedan guise and $4,432 in its coupe style. From a private party, you can expect to pay between $1,574 and $2,231 for the sedan or between $2,283 and $3,036 for the coupe, depending on the condition of the car..
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