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2004 Chevrolet Optra5 LS Road Test

2004 Chevrolet Optra5 LS Road Test

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A Pretty Face and a Nice Personality

The popular trend of changing an ever-so-practical sedan into an even more practical hatchback has taken place with

The new Optra5 follows the latest automotive trend of manufactures making hatchbacks out of popular sedans. (Photo: Alexandra Straub, Canadian Auto Press)
Chevrolet's new Optra. Last year, the American car manufacturer introduced a lineup of new (and revamped) cars to the Chevy family. Among those cars were the new Malibu, Aveo, Epica and the Optra. The Malibu sedan has already been transitioned into the hatchback dubbed the Malibu Maxx, and now the Optra has transformed into the Optra5. Previously, during a launch program, I had the opportunity to drive the Optra sedan, but the 5-door model wasn't ready at that time. It is now, giving me the chance to test the car out for a much longer period of time. The Optra5 LS shares the same engine and similar standard features to the sedan, I found the 5-door to have that extra bit of something that made it all the more appealing.

While the hatchback version does look more stylish than the sedan, the design makes visibility a problem. (Photo: Alexandra Straub, Canadian Auto Press)
First of all I thought the 5's exterior had much more spunk and pizzazz when comparing to its somewhat staid 4-door sibling. I found the styling to be bubbly and Saab-esque; it didn't look frumpy and had some nice lines, especially the taillights. The rounded rear end, however, made for terrible rearward visibility. The rear window had little to no depth so I could barely see anything while backing up or parallel parking. The large "C" pillars didn't help the cause either, but at least when looking in my rearview mirror while driving I could see all that I needed to see. Ideally it would have been better if the rear window was larger.