By Wayne Gorrett
If practical and economical motoring are your priorities,
then the Chevrolet Aveo has to be Britain’s best kept secret!
* Attractive sporty styling * Roomy throughout * It drives pretty good *
* A lot of product for your money * Excellent low running costs *
* The Eco (stop-start) 1.3 diesel is an uber-frugal gem *
WE DIDN’T LIKE
* Steering is numb to centre * Rivals offer more engaging drives *
* Puncture ‘repair kit’ instead of proper spare wheel *
☀ ☀ ☀
The second generation (T300) Chevrolet Aveo has been on the UK market since September, 2011. In that time, it’s garnered quite a following and with good reason. Chevrolet’s first model to have finally shaken off the last vestiges of Daewoo DNA, the Aveo is well-designed with space in mind, is equally well engineered and competitively priced hatchback.
It’s good looking inside and out, is a fair performer and very economical to boot. The nicely different rev counter and LED speedo bring a sporty touch to the dash, while hidden rear door handles and aggressive looking headlights contribute to its appeal.
While there may be no great shakes in the Aveo’s performance department, what is does it does very well indeed. There are three engines in the current Aveo line-up with two petrols of 1.2-litre and 1.4-litre capacities, delivering 86ps (115Nm torque) and 100ps (130Nm torque) respectively. One 1.3 VCDi diesel is in the mix too and is available in two states of tune – 75ps and 95ps (both offering 190Nm of torque), with the former linked to stop-start (Eco) technology, as tested.
Understandably, the little diesel is the most attractive option and is a true gem. Using the greater torque available, it’s both gutsy and feisty at the off, giving satisfactory in-gear performance throughout the leggy 5-speed manual ‘box. While hardly blistering, the 1.3 diesel acceleration times from 0-62mph is a respectable 11.7s, especially when one considers how frugal this car is.
The Aveo’s real bottom line though is about economy rather than performance and we averaged a very respectable 65.6mpg combined against the official 78.4mpg (combined).
Ride & Handling
The Aveo will happily cruise smoother roads and motorways without a care in the world. The only negative is the level of road and wind noise which – at 70mph – can be tiresome. The engine behaves well at cruise and was not found to be overly intrusive.
Good visibility is enjoyed from the large glass area around the cabin, which swamps the interior with light, making what is already a roomy space, more bright and airy. The steering is a little dull to dead-ahead and – while electrically powered – feels weighty and oddly heavy which may make parking-speed maneuverability a challenge to some.
The suspension is well set up but is not at the sporty end of the driving spectrum. It shows body roll in ‘enthusiastic’ cornering but is suitably contained by mature ride dynamics from the McPherson struts under the nose and the torsion beam at the rear. Sportier rides are found on the Mazda2 and Fiesta and the more enthusiastic driver may well want to head that way. However, Chevrolet have made significant strides over the past few years as evidenced by the delightful Aveo which is not far behind those and behaves exceptionally well for ‘real’, everyday driving.
In LT trim, the Aveo weighs in at 1,250kg – itself not excessive for the size of the car. However, the 1.2 petrol-powered Aveo is reportedly 95kg lighter than the 1.3-litre diesel tested. Still, the diesel remains perhaps 100kg worth of cream teas too many compared to class rivals.
Space & Practicality
Plenty of space and hugely practical for a smallish hatch. The rear seats can accommodate two grown-ups comfortable for every journey and three for shorter journeys. Head and legroom are generous in both front and rear and there’s a 290-litre boot which increases to 650-litres when folding the rear seats. In front a dual-level cubby is a nice touch and there are storage trays under each seat.
Boot access is a tad narrow and could restrict some awkward loads. However, there is extra storage under the boot floor for those valuables while on holiday. There are two small storage compartments either side of the top dash which are adequate for a phone and a pack of tissues.
A generous level of goodies is available on the Aveo. The LT 1.3 VCDi Eco variant as tested included stop/start engine technology (activated via the ‘Eco’ button), 15” alloys, Bluetooth connectivity, air-con, hill-start assist, ESC, ABS, cruise control with speed limiter, steering wheel controls for phone and audio, electric front windows, RDS radio with CD player, USB and aux-in, driver’s sunglass holder, electrically adjustable and heated mirrors, outside temperature sensor, traction control and remote central locking.
Chevrolet’s generosity doesn’t stop there. The Aveo is all wrapped in a five-year / 100,000 mile transferable warranty. The instrument display module on the dash which encompasses the digital speedo and rev counter, won’t appeal to all, but we think it fits the overall funky appeal of the Aveo.
Comfort & Refinement
The current Aveo is larger than its predecessor, offering greater head and leg room for the four adults it can seat in comfort and five for shorter journeys. There is four-way front seat adjustment with driver’s ride height and rake and reach steering adjustment ensuring a comfortable driving position. The suspension is well set-up for UK conditions and is sufficiently pliant to absorb most bumps and winter-wear (read potholes) with no discernible intrusion into the cabin, but wind noise at speed can be tiresome, particularly around the wing mirrors.
Safety & Security
Safety features on the tested Aveo are very good, with front, side and roof curtain airbags, anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC), ISOFIX child seat restraint system (2nd row outer rear seats), brake assist system (BAS) and hill-start assist (HAS). An engine immobiliser is standard across the Aveo range. In critical crash tests, Euro NCAP awarded it a full five stars.
The trump card. The 1.3 diesel manual Eco (stop/start) has one of the cleanest tailpipes in its class yet still delivers strong, torquey performance throughout the power band. Emissions are Class Euro V at 95g/km, ensuring no VED tax for the first and subsequent years – and no London Congestion Charge. Chevrolet claims a combined cycle fuel economy figure of 78.4mpg. While we didn’t reach that lofty target, we achieved a very respectable real-world 65.6mpg average.
Kia Rio, VW Up, SEAT Mii, Skoda Citigo, Fiat Panda, Vauxhall Corsa.
At a Glance
Chevrolet Aveo price range > From £10,535 to £13,680
RRP of Aveo as tested > £12,860
Options fitted > None
Power / Torque > 75ps @ 4,000rpm / 180Nm @ 1,750rpm
Top speed > 108mph
Acceleration > 0-62mph in 11,7 seconds
Fuel tank > 40 litres
Fuel economy > Claimed 64.4mpg combined / Tested: 65.6mpg combined
CO2 Emissions > Class Euro V: 95gm/km
Luggage capacity > Rear seats up 290 litres / folded 653 litres
Suspension – Front / Rear > McPherson struts / torsion beam
VED Band / Class / Cost > A / 49 / £ 0 first year, £ 0 thereafter
Insurance group model tested > 9E T2
Warranty > 5-year / 100,000 miles
It drives well and is sufficiently refined for a car of its size. Despite being a small car it feels comfortable on the motorway and soaks up the bumps without issue. Inside, features have been carried over from other Chevrolet’s in the UK range such as the more up-market Cruze and Orlando. It feels well put together with plenty of neat touches and there‘s lots of room, even for taller drivers. Buyers benefit from a five year, 100,000 mile warranty, a six year anti-perforation warranty (with no mileage limitation) and one year’s roadside assistance.