Baby Chevy goes back to basics

Daewoo has just been rebranded as Chevrolet in the UK. You can’t have failed to notice: Chevy is spending £4m on what it describes as a ‘roadblock’ advertising campaign in the press and, from 1 March, on TV.

That’s when this car goes on sale. It’s the three-door version of the five-door Daewoo Kalos we’ve had for two years, and until the S3X off-roader arrives later this year, it will enjoy the distinction of being the only Chevy not previously to have been on sale as a Daewoo.

With the £6995 1.2 S five-door no longer offered, the 1.2 S three-door inherits its price and becomes the cheapest Kalos – the five-door SE now costs £7895 and the 1.4 SX three-door £8395.

It’s a pity Chevrolet didn’t shave five hundred quid off the price to compensate for the loss of two doors and make this car a closer rival for the entry-level Daihatsu Charade and Fiat Panda.

But it’s still the Kalos to have. These cars are best bought bum-basic, though the S has a CD player, electric windows and three-point seatbelts in the back as standard.

The cabin is exceptionally bright and spacious, the seats firm and height-adjustable and the dash looks good, even if the plastics are cheap.

The car rides decently – probably the most important dynamic trait in a car of this class – although it doesn’t do anything else so well. The steering is vague and light, there’s lots of body roll and understeer and the gearchange is clunky.

But the 72bhp eight-valve engine pushes it along with sufficient pace and refinement to make you glad you didn’t pick the more expensive 1.4.

Ben Oliver

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