Chevrolet Aveo review
The Chevrolet Aveo rivals superminis like the Suzuki Swift, with sporty looks and plenty of space
This is the second-generation Chevrolet Aveo, which was launched in 2011 and goes up against superminis like the Suzuki Swift, Hyundai i20 and Vauxhall Corsa. It has been designed with spaciousness and comfort in mind, which means it’s easy to drive, comes with plenty of equipment and a big boot, too. The engine range includes an efficient 1.3-litre diesel engine, which it shares with the Corsa and is capable of returning average fuel consumption of 79.0mpg while emitting only 95g/km of CO2. However, the Aveo is no match for the class best when it comes to quality or dynamics, and its price is also higher than that of the Swift. A hot hatch model was revealed at the 2012 Detroit Motor Show. It’s called the Sonic RS in America but would be badged Aveo RS if it goes on sale in the UK. The decision whether to bring it to this market hasn’t yet been made, but it would go head-to-head with the Swift Sport. The Sonic RS is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-litre Ecotec petrol engine with 136bhp for an estimated 0-62mph time of 10.5 seconds. An Aveo SUV is also said to be on the way, according to Chevrolet insiders. Details are still scarce but its styling is likely to be inspired by the GPiX concept revealed in 2008.
Our choice: Aveo 1.3 VDCi LT 5dr
With swept-back headlights, Chevrolet’s signature double grille and creased metalwork, the Aveo is a surprisingly stylish car. Like the new Renault Clio, the Aveo’s rear door handles are hidden in the C-pillar to create the illusion that the car is a sporty three-door rather than a practical five-door model. All specs come with plenty of kit, with even entry-level models getting Bluetooth. However, you’ll have to opt for LT trim and aboveif you want alloy wheels. The interior features motorbike-inspired instruments and blue backlit dials, but it’s a shame that the mismatched plastics feel hard and cheap. The Aveo RS model is marked out by chunkier bumpers, lowered suspension and bespoke 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels. The Sonic RS model we drove last year also featured bolstered leather and suede sports seats, with bright red RS lettering, as well as a flat-bottomed steering wheel, new dials and Chevrolet’s MyLink system, which includes a seven-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth and DAB audio.
The engine line-up is made up of two petrols and a diesel. The entry-level 1.2-litre petrol is available with 83bhp, while the 1.4-litre option provides 99bhp. Both options have to be worked hard, though, with a lack of urgency at low revs that makes progress slow. The 1.3-litre diesel - the same engine that’s available in the Corsa - develops 94bhp and 190Nm of torque, which ensures better in-gear performance. But it's very unrefined and noisy, particularly on start up. All come with a five-speed manual gearbox fitted as standard. The light controls and slick gearshift make it easy to manoeuvre around town, but the lack of feedback from the steering and poor body control mean it lags far behind the Swift or Fiesta for driving dynamics. If it makes it to the UK, the Aveo RS model will be powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a power output of 138bhp – 2bhp more than the Suzuki Swift Sport. The Sonic RS model we drove offered plenty of pace grip, and a decent ride, too, despite the larger wheels.
Chevrolet hasn’t had the best results in our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. It was ranked worst of all in the 2011 survey, and failed to even make an appearance in the 2012 results. However, things do seem to be looking up for the brand and it finished 20th in the 2013 results, with a score of 81.15 per cent. The Aveo isn’t quite common enough to have made an appearance in the survey yet, but it should fare well. It shares many of its mechanicals with other cars from Vauxhall and GM, which means that all of the parts should be tried and tested. No major problems have been reported so far, and it has been the subject of just one recall in that time. It feels better built than the previous version, too, even if some of the dash plastics feel a little flimsy to the touch. As for safety, the Aveo has a five-star crash test rating, with a score of 95 per cent for adult occupant protection and 93 per cent in the safety assist category. Standard safety kit includes electronic stability control, seatbelt reminders and six airbags. The bonnet has also been designed to minimise injury to pedestrians.
The Chevrolet Aveo has been built with spaciousness in mind, which is why it is offered as a five-door hatchback only. The new car is longer and wider than outgoing model, which means that the boot space is up from 220 litres to 290. Total capacity increases to 653 litres with the seats folded, too, which is considerably more than the Swift, which can only manage has 211 and 528 litres of space. That said, the boot opening is narrow, which makes loading larger items more difficult than it should be. Head and legroom are both decent and there’s enough space in the back for two adults to sit in relative comfort. There’s also a neat twin glovebox, with space for music players and CDs on top, as well as storage trays under the front seats.
The 1.3 VCDi desel is available in eco spec, which comes with a fuel-saving stop-start system and low-rolling resistance tyres to help it return a claimed economy figure of 78.5mpg and emit only 95g/km of CO2. But even without the eco tweaks, this engine manages 69.0mpg and emissions of 108g/km (or 74.0mpg and 99g/km if you opt for the lower-powered option). The 1.2-litre petrol returns 51.0mpg, while the larger 1.4 unit manages 48.0mpg. However, opting for the six-speed automatic gearbox will cause fuel efficiency to drop to 42.0mpg and push emissions up to 147g/km. Every Aveo comes with a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty, which includes one year's free roadside assistance to help keep other costs to a minimum.