Chevrolet has revamped it's supermini the Kalos. It looks good from the outside, but has it been tweaked enough?
It's cheap and stylish, but the Chevrolet Kalos is in need of more than a minor tweak if it is to remain competitive. The likes of the Kia Rio and Hyundai Getz provide a more convincing package at a similar price. Only if looks and equipment levels are your top priorities does the latest Kalos make sense as a new car purchase.
Building a new brand is no easy task, but if there's one kind of car guaranteed to hit the headlines in the UK, it's a sporty-looking supermini.
This is something that isn't lost on newcomer Chevrolet, which has hotted up its Kalos with this SX version. While the budget three-door has been around as a Daewoo since 2002, it still looks fresh. But how does it compare with the latest bargain supermini rivals?
Our test car's smart paintwork complements the sharp lines, while the new 15-inch alloy wheels were definitely chosen to appeal to image-conscious buyers. Previously, the rims have only been 14 inches in diameter. Add in the small roof spoiler at the rear, and this latest Chevrolet will tick all the boxes for many young buyers.
As with the five-door version, the three-door Kalos is available in S and SX trims, as well as top-of-the range Sport. It's the mid-spec car driven here that offers the best package, though, with a generous equipment tally. A CD player, air-conditioning, remote central locking and side airbags are all thrown in as standard for £8,595.
That's a tempting price, but the new Chevy's interior has a budget feel. It looks good and is sensibly laid out, yet as is the case with its Kia Rio rival, the design is beginning to appear dated. The one significant change inside is the addition of some darker trim - but really, the cabin could have done with a more serious makeover.
Still, occupants will find there's a decent amount of space front and rear, while the boot is also a reasonable size given the Kalos's dimensions.
Despite its sporty looks, when you actually get the Kalos on the road, it fails to live up to its billing. The SX comes with a 1.4-litre petrol engine which has been reworked to meet strict new emissions regulations.
Maximum power of 92bhp is developed at a heady 6,200rpm, while the peak torque figure of 130Nm arrives at 3,400rpm. As a result, the powerplant has to be worked hard if you want to make swift progress, with the sprint from 0-62mph taking 11.1 seconds.
Once up to speed, the Chevy is a comfortable supermini, but the controls lack finesse. The steering has a numb feel, while the gearchange is imprecise. However, once you've got used to its flaws, this car can be hustled through tight corners at a decent pace.
The Kalos's biggest problem is that it doesn't excel in any area. It's attractive, well equipped and keenly priced - but that's simply not enough to beat the strongest contenders in this class.