Chevrolet Aveo review
The Chevrolet Aveo is well rounded, spacious and sporty car and offers intriguing alternative in the budget supermini class
Now into its second generation, the Chevrolet Aveo is a capable supermini that's been built with space and comfort in mind. It's roomier than rivals like the Ford Ka and Suzuki Swift, but costs less than both. It's also well equipped from the mid-range LS trim upwards, and is even offered with an efficient 1.3-litre diesel engine. It can't match the class best in terms of driving dynamics or build quality, but it's simple and easy to drive, and will suit buyers on a budget.
Our choice: Aveo 1.4 LT 5dr
The Chevrolet Aveo is an attractive and sporty looking supermini whose aggressive design cues resemble that of the Volkswagen Scirocco. The exposed headlights, prominent grille and hidden rear door handles do a good job of concealing the Chevrolet's practical five-door layout, and lend it plenty of character. Only the top LT versions get alloy wheels though. There are some unique interior touches, including lots of storage cubbies and useful cup-holders, but the mismatched plastics feel hard and cheap.
Two engines are available, either a 1.2 or 1.4-litre petrol. The former provides 83bhp while the latter makes 99bhp. Both are mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. Progress is slow however, as a lack of urgency at low revs mean both have to be worked very hard to keep up with traffic. The light controls and direct gearchange make it easy to navigate through town, but the lack of feedback from the steering and poor body control mean the Aveo can't challenge the class leaders. Neither engine is particularly refined either. The 1.3-litre diesel has more torque, giving better in-gear performance, but it's very unrefined and noisy, particularly on start up.
The Chevrolet Aveo shares its major mechanicals with other tried and tested cars from Vauxhall and GM, and no major problems have been reported so far. It feels better built than the previous version too, and should stand the test of time well, even if some of the dash plastics do feel a little flimsy to the touch. It comes with lots of safety equipment as standard, including ESP, six airbags and a bonnet designed to minimise injury to pedestrians. All these features helped it earn a maximum five-star crash test score from Euro NCAP.
The Chevy Aveo is one of the more practical superminis around, with the rear doors opening to reveal a bench that's big enough to seat two tall adults in comfort. Head and legroom are both very generous, and the 290-litre boot increases to 653 litres with the seats folded. In comparison, a Suzuki Swift has 211 and 528 litres of space respectively. Inside, there's a twin glovebox, with space for music players and CDs on top, and there are even storage trays under the front seats. The boot opening is quite narrow, but otherwise the Aveo is very practical indeed.
Fuel economy is very competitive. The 1.2-litre manual, for example, returns 51.3mpg, while the larger 1.4 drops to 46.3mpg. The auto is less economical, and none of the range performs well when it comes to carbon emissions. The smallest engine still emits 130g/km, putting it in VED band D, while the 1.4-litre auto puts out 158g/km - not a good performance considering the Aveo's small size. The diesel is the efficiency champ, and the Eco version, which comes with start/stop and low-rolling resistance tyres, emits just 95g/km of CO2 and returns nearly 80mpg combined. Chevrolet offers the Aveo with a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty, which includes one year's free roadside assistance to keep other costs very low indeed.