Sure enough, the wheelbase and height (it’s 36mm taller than a Fiesta) of a Chevrolet Aveo do lend it an airy, spacious interior by class standards. You could fit two adults behind two adults in here, comfortably, although three youngsters abreast in the rear is as much of a squeeze as it is in any supermini, given the 1735mm width (that’s over 50mm narrower than a Fiesta).
The front seats are decent enough, too – large enough to get comfortable in and firm enough to stay comfortable over distances. The driving position is fairly upright (more MPV than saloon car) but not really the worse for it. In fact, less agile occupants might well be grateful for having a raised seat base to get in and out of. Visibility is good, too.
What’s less excellent is the choice of cabin materials. Today, it isn’t just about meeting the expectations of customers who have downsized recently. The increase in the perceived quality of car interiors has filtered down through manufacturers’ ranges to the extent that even a Vauxhall Corsa feels moderately classy.
The Aveo, however, can’t quite manage the same. Some of the design touches in the cabin are neat enough, and very welcome, but all the flair in the world can’t disguise some brittle plastics that are hard to the touch and loud to the tap.
It’s far from a disaster; Chevrolet has come an awfully long way since it adopted Daewoo’s products. The motorbike-binnacle-aping instrument set, for example, shows a touch of real flair, and the quality of the fit and finish is mostly strong, too. It would only take the choice of a few different textures here and there to lift the Aveo’s cabin from average to eminently respectable.
What is utterly respectable is a boot capacity of 290 litres with the rear seats in place, and 653 litres with them folded. Both are above the class norm.