The tall, 270-litre boot is not big, but should hold a reasonable amount of real-world luggage, thanks to its sensible proportions.
Behind the wheel, the (left-hand) driving position is also impressive, with a wide range of adjustment in the seat and well placed pedals. Much of the minor switchgear is familiar from the Vauxhall Insignia, although the elegant look of the centre console is spoiled by two small vertical storage bins to either side of the central vents and what Chevrolet describes as a motorcycle-style instrument binnacle, which looks completely out of place.
Forward visibility is good, but we were unable to confirm whether the large C-pillar disrupted the view to the rear due to the full camouflage our car was wearing to protect Korean sensibilities.
There’s no clatter from the 1.3-litre, Polish-built turbodiesel, and it only becomes vocal at high revs. It has a low-end flexibility that the new 1.2-litre petrol unit sorely lacks, and lends itself to relaxed driving with minimal gear changes at motorway speeds.
The 95bhp diesel unit will be available in the UK six months after the Aveo’s launch, and comes with stop-start and a six-speed manual box as standard. Unusually for a stop-start diesel, there was no juddering as it spun up when you depressed the clutch.
Driving a pre-production car on foreign roads is never going to replicate a British driver’s experience, but South Korea’s winding ‘B-roads’ showed that the engineers have succeeded in injecting a degree of European tautness into the car’s dynamics without damaging its compliant ride.
Should I buy one?
At the moment you can’t buy one, as we’ve managed to get behind the wheel of a very early car, but initial signs are promising. Chevrolet won’t reveal pricing yet, but has confirmed it intends to compete head to head with the i20 in the UK, and on price against the Ford Fiesta. If that is the case at launch then the turbodiesel could prove a worthy adversary.
Price: TBA: On sale: July 2011: Top speed: 105mph: 0-62mph: 11.4sec: Economy: 69mpg (combined, est): CO2: 109g/km (est), 99g/km with stop-start (est): Kerb weight: 1035kg (est): Engine: 4 cyls, 1248cc turbodiesel: Power: 89bhp at 4000rpm: Torque: 154lb ft at 1750rpm: Gearbox: 5-spd manual.