By: Michael Levine

Posted: 01/07/2000

Could this be Saturn's pickup?

GM do Brasil brought an unexpected and pleasant surprise to Detroit. The Sabia concept, named after a Brazilian bird, was designed completely south of the border as a an exercise in creating a globally appealing crossover vehicle. The four passenger Sabia is based on GM's gamma platform used in the Opel brand of Corsa cars sold in Europe.

David Rand, the Sabia's designer, told PUTC that the Sabia is perfect for daily commuter use during the week but its bed adds extra utility for taking
care of the chores and leisure time activities on the weekends.

Rumors of a Saturn pickup (see illustration above) have been swirling around for quite some time as that GM brand seeks to broaden its appeal to buyers. We think the Sabia fits the bill. It's small 1.8L, four cylinder engine makes it the perfect choice for budget conscious buyers looking for lots of versatility in their vehicles. Front wheel drive adds to the Sabia's efficiency.

The Sabia is compact at only 174-inches long, 6" shorter than the Chevrolet Cavalier, and stands 60-inches tall but its 20-inch wheels make it appear much larger in scale.

The cab is configured to the coupe side of the spectrum rather than the increasingly popular crew cab but the Sabia still easily accommodates four people. The steeply raked C pillar provides more head room for rear passengers and also allows the rear seats to recline - an issue in most four door crew cab pickups.

Lacking in the Sabia is a midgate-style means of access to the bed to provide even more functionality but Rand told us a midgate could be easily added if the Sabia reaches production.