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Chevrolet Aveo review (2011 onwards)
What - Chevrolet Aveo
Where - Switzerland
Price - from £9,195
Available - October
Key rivals -Hyundai i20, Ford Fiesta, Suzuki Splash, Fiat 500
GALLERY: Chevrolet Aveo
Read another Chevrolet review
Summary - A new 1.3 diesel engine has joined the petrol ranks and makes a fantastic value proposition
We like - comfortable ride, interior space, eco diesel model now on sale
We don't like - spiritless petrol engines, cabin quality, grip issues
Chevrolet is slowly getting around to replacing the lacklustre Daewoo models it inherited when it took over the Korean brand in 2005.
The latest new car in the revitalised line-up is this, the new Chevrolet Aveo. Launched in the same year as the company's 100th year anniversary, the supermini which replaces the Kalos is predicted to be the strongest seller and promises a sporty driving experience with a refined interior and an efficient range of engines.
However, does it live up to the press pack hype?
Two petrol engines have been confirmed for the UK; 1.2 and 1.4-litre petrols, with a 1.6-litre still to be confirmed. A 1.3 diesel has also just joined the ranks and makes the strongest financial sense.
Let's start with the 1.2. It is a peppy little engine and eager around town. Problem is, its power is stacked high up the rev range so it takes a long time - and much ear bashing - to reach it.
If you need to use faster roads a lot, make a beeline for the 1.4. This engine benefits from an extra 14hp making it more flexible out of town. However, with a dearth of torque you still need to wind the engine up towards the red line to get a move on. Don't even think about buying the automatic; it blunts the performance and feels slow-witted off the mark.
The 1.3 turbodiesel (from £12,795) is the one to go for. It feels more sprightly than both of the petrols with 95hp ensuring it moves smartly off the line. It's noisy when worked hard, but the engine settles into a hum at sensible speeds and it's a nice surprise to find a six-speed manual gearbox to keep the noise down on the motorway.
It's only on steep hills when you notice a lack of power; dropping a gear or two solves this problem.
Ride and handling
The Aveo felt surprisingly sophisticated in the way it reacted to lumps and bumps, though we were driving on snooker-table smooth Swiss roads. We'll wait for a UK test before giving our final verdict here.
As for its ability to go around corners, don't expect the dynamic prowess of a Ford Fiesta. The Aveo leans over prominently and you can hear the tyres squealing as they lose grip if you corner hard. That said, if you don't treat every road like a rally stage and instead want a compact car for commuting and shopping, it works fine. Just don't expect to have much fun.
Around town, the light steering, good visibility and up-right driving position makes this an easy car to park and nip through gaps.
Interior and equipment
Chevrolet has tried to inject some flair into the Aveo's cabin with blue back-lighting, a wraparound instrument panel (inspired by the Corvette, no less) and a digital speedo.
However, the odd instrument binnacle won't be to all tastes, while the hard plastics look and feel like they're from the parts bin marked 'economy'.
Still, what do you expect from a car with an expected starting price of less than £10k? At least it is functional, with plenty of room for four adults, a steering wheel that moves for reach and height, and a square boot that offers 290 litres of space. With 60/40 seats that fold, this opens up to a maximum of 653 litres.
Economy and safety
The 1.2 averages 51mpg and the 1.4 48mpg but take it easy and you could see the figures for both cars rise into the high 50s.
Carbon emissions of 138g/km (1.2) and 139g/km (1.4) mean you won't feel shortchanged when it comes to taxing your steed.
The stop-start diesel is the one to buy if you really want to reward yourself at the pumps and in your tax bill. It returns 78.5mpg and pumps out only 95g/km of carbon emissions. This means zero road tax and free London congestion charge.
The MSN Cars verdict
The Aveo is uninspiring to drive, but what it lacks in dynamics it makes up for with its value proposition; a five-year warranty as standard, plenty of space and a low price tag means this is a supermini worth considering if you're not too fussed about how quickly you get from A-to-B. The petrol versions of the Aveo would collect three stars here, but the diesel is worth paying the premium for and earns a solid four out of five.
|Need to know|
|Engines (petrol)||1.2 & 1.4 (1.3 diesel)|
|Power (hp)||86 - 100|
|Torque (lb/ft)||85 - 96|
|0-62mph (secs)||13.4 - 11.7|
|Top Speed (mph)||106 - 110|
|MPG (combined)||79 - 48|
|CO2 (tax)||95 - 139|
|Ride & handling||***|
|MSN Cars verdict||****|
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