Chevrolet Kalos

6 Dec, 2006 (All day) Ross Pinnock

Spacious and well built, but dated cabin and sparse equipment give it a basic feel


This fresh, entry-level Kalos is spacious and well built, while neat exterior styling boosts its visual appeal. But the dated cabin and sparse equipment list give it a budget feel, and the lacklustre driving experience ensures mainstream rivals are a more rewarding ownership proposition. * Engine: 1.2-litre 4cyl, 71 bhp* Price: £7,695
Value for money is what Chevrolet does best, and the firm's latest Kalos is full of promise. However, does the new entry-level model do enough to compete in the crowded supermini sector?

When it comes to showroom appeal, there's nothing to tell the 1.2-litre S model apart from the more expensive SE version, but the plastic wheel trims are a sure sign of its budget roots.

There's no remote for the central locking, so you need to use the key to get inside, and once aboard, acres of bland grey plastic dominate the cabin.

The interior should be where the Kalos plays its trump card, but the kit list is far from lavish, and while power-steering and electric front windows are joined by a CD player, air-con is a £400 extra. The hard dashboard is neatly styled, though, and it's all well screwed together. On paper, the 71bhp petrol engine should offer decent pace, but with maximum power achieved at 5,400rpm and little in the way of low-down torque, you have to work hard to keep up with traffic.

However, the combined fuel economy of 44.1mpg is respectable enough. Hit the road and the comfortable ride soaks up bumps and ruts, but there's too much body roll when cornering and the handling lacks the polish of the class leaders.

In five-door guise, prices for the entry-level Kalos start at a competitive £7,695, but with a supermini sector packed with talented rivals, its strengths aren't nearly strong enough.