- We like...Air conditioning, alloy wheels as standard
- We don't...Raucous engine, bouncy ride
New supermini gives a lot for little cash. But are its talents enough to challenge the best superminis?Chevrolets? Aren’t they Daewoos, but with a fancier badge? The name-change came three years back but, for a while, the best thing you could say about the cars was that they didn’t cost much and were sturdy.
But, with a string of new models, starting with this Aveo, there’s a chance that Chevrolet will gain an identity you and I can understand. Ours is the range-topping 1.4 LT automatic. At £10,645, it’s sound for what you get: a smart if anonymous supermini with five doors and an attractive list of standard equipment. It’s European-made (in Poland) and looks smart enough to mix it with rivals from Fiat, Nissan, Hyundai and Kia, while remaining a league below pricier competition from Renault, Peugeot, Vauxhall and Volkswagen.
The inside is attractive, although the trim quality is hit-and-miss: there are some rough edges and some of the switches look as if taken from an older car. But equipment levels are good, including four airbags, air conditioning and alloy wheels as standard.
It’s a space-efficient car that offers enough room in the rear for grown-ups and even a picnic tray hinged from the passenger’s seat back – just the one. The seats, though, feel flat and have too little ‘spring’ in them. But the driver’s perch moves in every direction and the steering tilts, so it’s possible to find a position that suits. The boots is small, however, and the rear seats don’t tip flat, limiting the amount that you can extend to the load space.
And it’s a good car for batting around town in, where its four-speed auto transmission keeps the engine spinning happily. But elsewhere it’s less composed, and that gearbox will slip between cogs suddenly if you ask the car to push on hard. Then the engine makes a din until speed is gathered and it can settle once more. The car sucks up bumps in its soft bouncy way, but the noisy engine and dull steering won’t encourage you to drive it quickly.
Engines linked to auto gearboxes tend to use more fuel and pollute more than manually-geared ones, but the Aveo’s 152g/km CO2 and 44.1mpg best overall are respectable.
Should you buy one? Perhaps. The Aveo is well priced and promises to be as cheap as any to fuel and service. But depreciation – the difference between what it costs new and what it’ll be worth second-hand – is likely to hit hard. The Kalos – the car it replaces – loses 70% of its value within three years and we’d expect the Aveo do fare little differently. So a car costing you £10,000 now fetches just £3000 in 2011. Dearer rivals like the VW Polo depreciate less – so may work out cheaper in the end.
- 0-60 mph12.3sec
- Insurance groups
Motors.co.uk value verdict: