• Jul 9th 2006 at 8:02PM
  • 22
If it was sold here, it could give the Scion xB a run for its money. it's boxy, it's cool, and it's Japanese-branding has credibility. The vehicle I'm talking about is the Chevrolet MW, a rebadged Suzuki Wagon R.

From the looks of things, the MW is positioned as an upmarket compact wagon -- the leather seats and snazzy take on the Wagon R interior are the visual indicators that this is the case. The regular Wagon R and the slick-looking Wagon RR variant make do with the cloth seats generally found in the cars that make up this segment.

The upmarket nature is also on display underhood. Suzuki's M13A 1.3L 4-cylinder rests in the MW's engine bay. It's good for 88 horsepower and is hooked up to a 4-speed automatic. The Wagon Rs are kei cars so they must make use of Suzuki's 660cc 3-cylinder in either normally-aspirated (50 hp) or turbocharged (64 hp) form.

The interior is pretty flexible, with the folding seats and numerous storage nooks that are par for the course in these types of Japanese mini-wagons.

The MW is a neat little package that we'll sadly never see here. First off, the Wagon R is a right-hand-drive car. Secondly, GM has sold off most of its stake in Suzuki anyway, and each automaker seems to be heading in its own direction. To that effect, Suzuki has announced it will cease importation of the Chevy Trailblazer and Optra (Forenza) Wagon.

Too bad, this is one Chevy-badged import that would likely have connected with people here in the U.S.

In the world of automotive forbidden fruit, the Chevrolet MW is a tempting little apple, indeed.

Update: Reader PaulN points out in the comments that the Wagon R is available in LHD as well. The Opel Agila is a Wagon R rebadge. Hope springs eternal! Thanks for the correction, Paul.

(More Pics after the jump)

[Source: Suzuki Japan (translated)]

Chevrolet MWChevrolet MWChevrolet MWChevrolet MWChevrolet MWChevrolet MW

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      i agree with #13 .. just because it has a Gm badge it becomes ugly and all negative thing u American bashers are .. you all think aisan cars are all superior in all aspects and that no american cars make to your list... though i agree it needs reworking done its not anywhere far from being as ugly as ur scion xb is .. if u look at the interior is superior to that of ur xb its clean and pretty well laid out but alas its GM and GM only make bad cars (at least in your own American bashing world)
      • 9 Years Ago
      don't feed the troll...
      • 9 Years Ago
      They forgot to put this one in "CARS" the movie.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Reminds me of an astro gone terribly, terribly, wrong. Let's hope for GM's sake that the new alliance pulls through :S
      • 9 Years Ago
      This is a K-car. The Scion xB (nor xA) is not since they're both too large to fit the definition. Different market, Autoblog...
      • 9 Years Ago
      In the event of a frontal crash...I'm wondering what will go first...your knees or your face. Looks like either one has all but 3 inches of travel.
      • 7 Years Ago
      i hate this ugly car and i dont like the scion.i like my astro.its run and runs and runs with no problems.there is nothing wrong with chevrolet.only if you are a american
      • 9 Years Ago
      Considering the content of other recent stories, I think that GM should sell this car in China as the "Buick Superior" :-)
      • 9 Years Ago
      Wow, Alex....what drugs are you on? The ONLY way this could give a Scion xb a "run for it's money" would be if it was priced WAYYYY lower than the xb. The 84 horsepower engine would be what? about the least powerful engine available in any car currently sold in the U.S. and it is way too narrow to be comfortable transport for average sized Americans.

      "....the Chevy MW is a tempting little apple".....NOT.

      And no folks, I'm not a Scion/Toyota lover or Chevy basher...I am, however, a realist. What about you Mr. Nunez?
      • 9 Years Ago
      I'm pretty impartial as brand loyalty goes, and I'd say that this would not be desirable in the U.S. no matter what badge was stuck on the hood.

      For one thing, as other commenters have mentioned, this vehicle is in no way comparable to Scion's xB. The Suzu-- er, Chevy MW is all of 139 inches long and 52 inches wide, for starters. The xB is 155 and 67 inches, respectively, making it an entire size class larger. Americans wouldn't buy anything much smaller than an xB...

      Beyond that, it generates 88 horsepower (versus the Scion's 103), and doesn't offer a manual transmission. That adds up to nearly 13 seconds to reach 60 MPH, which is pretty much unacceptable to most Americans.

      Most importantly, the MW looks like an upended refrigerator. Even the xB boasts better proportions and more attractive detailing (headlights, grille, et cetera).

      And even if someone thought it was "cute," the bottom line is that this vehicle hasn't received many (if any) meaningful updates since the late 1990s. Aside from the leather seats and rich-looking Chevy steering wheel, the interior is crude, boxy, and flimsy. I hardly think Chevy missed the boat by keeping this aging mini-appliance out of American showrooms...
      • 9 Years Ago
      Incidentally, mike and Richard, you can let go of any perceptions of anti-GM bias. This vehicle is pure Suzuki, having been designed in the '90s with zero GM input. The only things Chevy contributed to the MW are the badges in the grille and on the steering-wheel hub.

      It's as much a GM vehicle as the "Buick Excelle" mentioned in a previous AB post...
      • 9 Years Ago
      So I'm a troll because I think these boxy imported vehicles are ugly, impractical, and unsafe.

      I once saw a mini cooper get heavily rear-ended by a Tahoe. The structure held up fine, and I'm sure the ocupants were fine, despite being smashed in the front and rear. Good ole' BMW boron steel. Not much crumple zone, but the intrusion was denied. I'm sure the US marketability was included in the design process.

      Pix of a aX in a simular situation that I saw online didn't seem to fare that well. The driver and front passenger would have been fine, but the rear passengers would be dead. I really don't think these tiny cars work well on the SUV and Truck laden US soil.

      Ask yourself this, if you had to choose to get rear-ended at 45 mph by some soccer mom talking on the cell phone and putting make-up on in the rearview mirror, would you want to be in the backseat of the vehicle shown above, or in a simularly price sedan with a 2-3 foot long trunk/hatch to absorb the impact. Scroll up and look at the side profile picture again. Big crumple zones absorb shock and have more "realestate" to slow down intrusions. The mini did fine, but I bet it was a hell of a jolt due to the lack of the affore mentioned large crumple zones.

      The US has some of the highest, if not the highest, safety standards in the world. Many of these cars could never get close to passing the required tests. Not without serious safety related modifications. The Honda Fit is a case in point.
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