The all new Chev Aveo blows into the small car market with about as much punch as the first one did, not much at all in other words. It merely blends into a sector which is marred by a myriad of Asian delights (a term I use very lightly) all competing for the title of best seller.
Quite clear then that I wasn’t particularly thrilled to receive the new Aveo. Nor does it come as any surprise that I hold a strong dislike for Korean built cars. You see I had the misfortune of owning a Daewoo Cielo, which completely ruined any chance the Koreans had of winning a place in my good books. The re-branding of Daewoo to Chev for the South African market failed to mislead me either – my dislike has merely shifted.
However maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to judge, given that there are seemingly millions of small cars on the road. Whether it be Kia, Chev, Hyundai or Honda – people buy their cars and there must be a reason for this.
And that reason is none other than budget. Cars like the Aveo are cheap(ish) to buy, cheap to run and cheap to insure. So if you need to get from A to B and don’t care for how exactly that happens then this is the kind of car you’ll look to buy.
Driving the Aveo brought me to this not so profound realisation. The general public do not care how their cars feel on tight, twisty roads. They do not care how fast they get to 100km/h. They do not care how planted they feel on a freeway. And this is only emphasized in the small car sector.
So with that, and budget in mind I buried my personal dislikes and ploughed on through my week with the Aveo. The updates on the styling front do make it easier to look at, sporting sleek wraparound headlights and a large, make that very large, grille. I would even go as far as to say that this is one of the more modern and appealing of the lot – behind only the Honda Jazz.
The interior failed to impress however. While space inside the cabin is adequate and appears slightly larger than the old model, the materials and design are really lacking. I had the “up-market” LS model with “leather” seats and some shiny plastics plonked here and there – none of which appealed to me whatsoever. I can’t understand why they couldn’t just stick to cloth for the seats and save the fake chrome for some hoodlum gangstars. The only redeeming factor is the addition of climate control and a CD player.
On the mechanical side, the new car boasts an uprated powerplant. The 16 valve DOHC 1.6 Opel derived engine makes the new car drivable. Anyone who drove the old 1.5 will be nodding their heads in agreement when I say it had the power of four harnessed children. Now with 77kW (15 more than the previous model) the Aveo is quite sprightly, although struggles to move through the rev range with any urgency. Consumption is a perfectly acceptable, but in no way amazing, 7.3l/100km.
Being a car that is probably meant more for town driving that long distance cruising, the steering is quite light. Too light in my opinion which gives the car a twitchy feeling at freeway speeds. On the back-roads of my test route the McPherson struts up front and the torsion beam on the rear axle held up well, (note: I’m talking proudly South African back-roads, potholes and all) and provided a perfectly adequate and comfortable ride.
So then, by no means a drivers’ car. But that’s not what Daewoo, sorry I mean Chevrolet are aiming for. Whilst the Aveo isn’t the cheapest car in the sector (at R149 500), it goes about it’s business with quiet efficiency and will undoubtedly gets its passengers from A to B with no frills or fuss.
Photo Credit: Quickpic