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Chevrolet Aveo 1.4 LTZ review

Good effort but some way from class leadersChevrolet Aveo review 2012

Five year warranty will attract private motorists
rating: *** out of 5

For: Looks good, well made, five year warranty.
Against: Brand awareness still low in the UK.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but reaction to the Chevrolet Aveo’s crisp looks seems very positive. The grille is now standard Chevrolet which helps to cement a family appearance. One innovation is separate round headlamps, which just shows how current designers have to look backwards for inspiration.

Special attention has been paid to quality and the panel gaps must be as slim as any maker’s which helps lift the car from apparent ‘budget’ status. The interior is also very high quality with fit, finish and material standards up there with Ford and Volkswagen. Unusually, there is a digital speed read-out which is actually very effective, particularly when compared with speedometers, the calibration of which are in 20 mph increments which don’t include our speed limits. In this car there is no excuse for exceeding the speed limit.

Chevrolet Aveo review 2012Not much like a motorcycle
For some reason best known to its designers and marketeers, both exterior and interior are inspired by the motor cycle. I have to say, I wouldn’t have known despite having driven 5 different versions. There was no pillion seat, no handlebars, a surplus of two wheels and nothing throbbing between my legs.

Very unlike a motorcycle, the seats are very comfortable with good adjustment and everything is exactly where it should be.

There are two petrol and two diesel engines and all are new and 4-cylinder. The 1.2 has a respectable 86 PS and the 1.4, a sporty 101 with an extra 15 Nm of   torque. The 1.3 diesels are basically identical with probably just computer re-mapping to raise the power from 75 to 95 PS and the torque from 190 to 210 Nm, at the same 1,750-2,500 rpm.

The two petrol-engined cars and the 75 PS diesel come with 5-speed manual gearboxes while the 95 PS diesel has six speeds. A 6-speed automatic is available on the 1.4 petrol.

Chevrolet Aveo review 2012There are 3 specification levels:  the LS, only available with the 1.2 petrol offers air conditioning, cruise control, rear spoiler, CD-stereo radio, electric windows and electric, heated door mirrors.

The LT is available with all engines although the 1.4 petrol at this level comes only with the automatic. The LT’s specification also includes 15 inch alloy wheels, steering wheel audio controls, four-way adjustable front seats, Driver Information Centre and Bluetooth telephone capability with music streaming.

The LTZ is available with 1.4 petrol in manual or automatic form and the 95 PS diesel. Additional equipment includes leather-trimmed steering wheel, six speakers, rear parking sensors and automatic headlamps.

Prices are from £9,995 for the 1.2 petrol up to £13,615 for 1.3 VCDI 95 PS diesel. On the 1.4 petrol, the automatic costs £1,000. These prices put the car right in the middle of a very competitive class, although in these challenging times, real prices are likely to be considerably lower. Chevrolet’s web site already shows a £1,000 reduction on the entry level 1.2 LS at a more competitive £8,995.

Chevrolet Aveo review 2012

Impressive safety credentials
One area where the car is near class-leading is safety with more airbags than you can throw a stick at; front driver and passenger, side and roof rail.

The car drives much as you would expect and the sort of people who are likely to buy the car will be more than happy. Even the little 1.2 settles to a reasonably quiet 70 mph and the 1.3 95 PS diesel with its much higher gearing is nicely refined. Steering, brakes, handling and ride are all perfectly acceptable although by no means class-leading.

Chevrolet Aveo review 2012

© Robert Couldwell. January 2012
for publication on Wintons World

 Chevrolet Aveo 1.4 Petrol
Figures in brackets for automatic version
Engine:1,398, 4-cylinder petrol
101 PS at 6,000 rpm
130 Nm at 4,000 rpm
5-speed manual or 6-speed auto
Acceleration:0-62 12.2 seconds (13.1)
Top Speed:108 mph (109)
Fuel Consumption:
53.3 MPG (44.8)
CO2:125 g/km (147)
Emissions class:
Euro 5
Length:4,039 mm
1,735 mm without mirrors
Height:1,517 mm
1,089 kg (1,117)
Wheel-base:2,525 mm
Front: McPherson struts. Rear torsion beam
Service Intervals:10,000 miles or one year
5 years / 100,000 miles whichever comes first
Boot capacity:
290/653 litres
Competition:Kia Rio, Hyundai i20, Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, Renault Clio, SEAT Ibiza, VW Polo
Price:£12,195 (£13,195)
For:Crisp looks, good engine choice, well built, 5 year warranty
Against:Might struggle against very strong opposition
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