REVIEW: CHEVROLET AVEO ROAD TEST
KEITH WARD puts the new Chevrolet Aveo through its paces and looks back at a few musical greats.
FOLLOWING the financial crash of General Motors of the USA in 2009, this all-new version of the Aveo hatchback, bearing the bow-tie Chevrolet badge, marks another step in GM’s planned European recovery programme. It comes from what used to be Daewoo pre-1995 and is built in Korea.
The Aveo is a Fiesta-sized supermini based on one five-door body, a choice of two diesel and two petrol engines, gearboxes of five or six speeds, manual or automatic, and three levels of trim in an eight-strong range priced from a tad under £10,000 to £13,615.
Generously included in even the most basic version are air-con, cruise control, electric and heated mirrors, electric front windows and two-way adjustable steering column. Top trim runs to such as leather bits, six-speaker audio, rear parking sensors and auto headlights.
Looks are neat but unremarkable except for two features. The rear door handles are obviously and vertically built in to the window trim, without really achieving the intended coupe appearance, and the two pairs of round headlamps are exposed in a retro, motor-cycle style with black bezels and chrome surrounds.
Inside, furnishings are subdued but pleasant and functional. There’s a large range of adjustment for the front seats, back and forth, up and down. Officially rated a five-seater, there is ample room for four average-height adults. Generous storage includes an under-seat drawer, double glovebox and space below the boot floor in the redundant well for a spare wheel – an inflator kit is provided.
Top LTZ trim gives you a two-tier boot floor, the upper providing a flat through-deck when the rear divided seats are folded. Otherwise there’s a step up. When the rear seats are upright, the rear parcel shelf can be neatly slid away to allow for tall cargo.
Of five versions tried on the road, the lively 95 PS Eco 1.3 diesel version with stop-start gave the best figures all round: top speed 108 mph, 0-62 in 11.7 seconds, CO2 a tax-free 95 g/km and official combined mpg of 78.4 (an actual 62 mpg in our two-hour test run).
But the price is £12,795. Chevrolet expect the best seller to be the petrol-powered 1.2 LT, £1,800 cheaper, featured in our Vital Statistics panel.
While the bottom of the range 1.2 LS tended to struggle on hills, the Aveo all round rode and cornered well and proved commendably quiet. Steering could be sharper. Mark Terry, managing director of Chevrolet UK, expects to sell 4,000 a year.
Musical note: The Chevy is reportedly the most referenced car in popular music. Most quoted is Don McLean who in his 1971 hit American Pie drove his “Chevy to the levy and the levy was dry.” You’ll also find Springsteen, Prince, Lady Gaga, Bob Seeger, Elvis Costello, Eric Clapton and Elton John in the Chevy pop 50. In the 1960’s 1 in 10 cars sold in the USA was a Chevy.
THE VITAL STATISTICS
Model: Chevrolet Aveo 1.2 LT
Engine: Petrol; 1,229 cc; four-cylinder; five-speed manual; front wheel drive
Power: 86 PS @ 5,600 rpm; max torque 115 Nm @4,000 rpm
Pace: 107 mph; 0-62 in 13.6 secs
MPG: On test 43.0 mpg; official combined 60.9; tank 46 litres
CO2: 111 g/km
Insurance: Group 5E T2
Warranty: Five years
Price range: £9,995 (1.2LS petrol) to £13,615 (1.3 LTZ VCDi diesel)
On sale: Now
Also look at: Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio, Hyundai i20, Kia Rio