CHEVROLET’S Aveo is a town car that knows its place, yet with the addition of diesel power, it now has the legs to take long motorway journeys in its stride.
Chevrolet engineers have worked hard to improve the car’s on-road manners and boost its overall refinement and ease of use. Many years have passed since the transition from Daewoo to Chevrolet, and the interiors of modern Chevrolets are significantly better these days. Furthermore, the past few years have seen a gradual and overall welcome shift for the better, and this latest-generation Aveo is a good example of what’s been achieved.
Chunky controls and solid-looking plastics dominate the Aveo’s cabin. Up front, the car’s seats are supportive, while those in the back of this five-door hatch are no less attractive and equally hard wearing. The general ambience is far removed from the dour, budget-spec environment of old.
What you get now is an uncluttered, easy-to-use fascia and controls, plus plenty of room for occupants. On the first point, the Aveo’s various dials and controls are intuitive and located where you expect them to be. Everything works well and the mix of analogue and digital displays has been executed well.
At the rear, there’s a good size boot offering a maximum of 653 litres of space once you fold the rear seats. Overall, the Aveo is a surprisingly practical machine. It easily fits the bill as a first car, but would also cope well as a stepping stone to something bigger.
An important addition to the Aveo’s engine line-up is a 1.3-litre diesel motor boasting sub-100g/km CO2 credentials. While this makes sense if you need to dodge congestion charges, Chevrolet acknowledges that it’s still petrol power that delivers most sales and is a choice that will likely prove the more cost effective for low-mileage motorists.
As such, the choice is between 1.2 and 1.4-litre motors producing 86 and 100 bhp respectively. Unusually, there’s a six-speed auto gearbox option for the 1.4 motor, otherwise it’s a manual five-speed unit all round.
In the real world, the petrol engines offer more than enough performance – especially the 1.2. Unobtrusive at the best of times, the 1.2 punches above its weight away from urban areas and feels like it could easily cope with the occasional motorway journey. For added poke and a more relaxed motorway cruise, the 1.4 unit is better, but only just.
On the road, the compact Chevrolet is a refreshingly fun and polished car to drive. You normally expect such cars to do the A-to-B thing with little fuss and zero character, but the Aveo does it with enough enthusiasm to shame some of the more established opposition.
It’s not a difficult car to drive thanks to the ample assistance available from the steering and brakes, yet there’s plenty of weight and feedback from the main controls to encourage the occasional bit of spirited driving. The car’s ride is never choppy around town and feels stable and refined at higher speeds. Even twisty roads don’t upset the Aveo, with the weighty steering and supple suspension making life easy.
Factor in a good level of standard equipment across the range – choice picks include air-con, cruise control, electric front windows on the base model and alloy wheels, Bluetooth and trip computer on the LT – and it’s easy to understand Chevrolet’s high hopes for its supermini.
CAR Chevrolet Aveo 1.2 LT
PERFORMANCE Max speed 107mph, 0-62mph 13.6secs.
MPG (combined) 60.9
CO2 EMISSIONS 111g/km