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Its genesis was in 1975 with the rear-wheel-drive Mk1, which headed into a cutthroat battle for fleet sales against the ubiquitous Ford Cortina. But by the time the Mk3 was thrust into action, the Cortina had bitten the dust, leaving its replacement, the Ford Sierra, to pick up the baton. And for years, it was these two titans alone vying for the top of the new-car sales charts, leaving realtive minnows, such as the Austin Montego and Nissan Bluebird, picking up the scraps.
For each fault, we asked the owner to identify time spent off the road using categories ranging from less than one day to more than a week. We also asked them to tell us how much the repairs cost, from being fixed under warranty for free to more than £1500. This information was weighted according to the severity of the fault; those that cost the most and kept the car off the road the longest were penalised most.
"Henry Ford II's personal dominance of the company gave it a different character, certainly different from other publicly owned companies in the automobile game," Miller said in 2003. "GM and Chrysler were not that way. You knew who the boss was. There were no palace politics with anyone trying to take over."
Although designed for life on a track, where it excels in tight corners, the 1LE doesn’t feel excessively compromised on the road, certainly not beyond the limitations common to the rest of the family. As with any sixth-generation Camaro, you’ll have to cope with a cramped cabin and visibility that’s limited by the shallowness of the windshield, the dearth of glass area, and the thick roof pillars. But while the 1LE is more stiffly sprung than the regular V-6 coupe, it still rides without excessive harshness. Adding velocity or cornering loads gives the upgraded dampers something to chew on, and hard use reveals a chassis that feels tight and poised, all of which keeps the body’s motions in check even on some of the poorest-quality surfaces that Michigan could throw at it. The tightened front end also brings a marked improvement in steering feel over the already communicative helm of the standard V-6 model, with the suede-wrapped steering wheel faithfully relaying information about tire loads, slip angle, and even surface textures. Many engineers responsible for the increasingly feel-free steering in posher sports cars could benefit from spending time with this humble Camaro.
These small indiscretions give the Micra a couple of big black marks against its otherwise impressive package. Don’t get me wrong, if you invested in one you would be getting a superb supermini that is well appointed and is better to drive than most in this class. But the Ibiza and the Fiesta have an added layer of polish that you would expect for a car priced as ours is.
With the £5,995 Huntsman Accessory Pack added on, the D-Max Utah Double Cab manual comes in at £36,115 while the automatic version will cost £37,315.
It’s stomping the major routes that our Vauxhall still shines. On a fast-moving motorway, the Cavalier is surprisingly subdued, with minimal wind or road noise, demonstrating that all those hours in the wind tunnel were fruitful. And this 2.5-litre V6 engine has even more grunt than the 2.0-litre in our test, delivering effortless roll-on performance, despite being paired to a rather sluggish four-speed automatic gearbox. It’s easy to see why 'the Cav' was the repmobile of choice.
Arjay Ray Miller was born on March 4, 1916, in Shelby, Neb., a small farming town west of Omaha. He was the youngest of eight children and named after his father's first initials -- Rawley John Miller.