As an all-round package, the Chevrolet Aveo stacks up. It’s great value, with plenty of standard kit, eye-catching looks inside and out, a comprehensive warranty and a spacious cabin. The loud and unresponsive 1.2-litre petrol engine is the car’s weak link, though, and things will only get worse with a full load of passengers or luggage.
After marking its centenary in 2011, Chevrolet is hoping for another golden year with the introduction of its new Aveo supermini. The diesel version impressed in our road test in Issue 1,200, but this is the first time we’ve driven the petrol car.
Headlights inspired by motorbikes and hidden rear door handles help the Aveo stand out. Inside, the trademark centre console splits the dashboard down the middle, and as in the Spark, there’s a speedo in a pod above the steering wheel.
Getting comfortable behind the wheel is easy and forward visibility is good. Plus, while chunky C-pillars restrict your rear view, there’s plenty of room for adults in the back seats and the 290-litre boot capacity is competitive for this class.
The Aveo is less satisfying on the road, though. On paper, the 85bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine should be strong enough, but performance feels sluggish. Our car had done only 24 miles, so this may improve as the engine loosens up; even so, the car lacked refinement.
The electrically assisted steering could do with more feel, and its desire to self-centre is too strong. Yet its reactions are sharp and its light weighting combines well with the smooth gearshift action. The brakes are relatively capable, too, and although the suspension feels a bit stiff at low speeds, it strikes a good compromise between ride comfort and agility.
Value for money is the Aveo’s trump card. For £10,995, you get a well equipped, spacious and dynamically capable supermini backed by a five-year warranty. Despite the car’s shortcomings, it’s a good deal.