What is it?
Probably the best and most desirable version of the all-new Chevrolet Aveo, which goes on sale in the UK this month. Economy-minded superminis may not be the most obvious products of desire, of course. But the Aveo 1.3 VCDi Eco isn’t your typical economy hatchback.
While so many low-emissions models have that telling hint of try-hard austerity about them, this Aveo really doesn’t. On paper, it actually offers more power and better accelerative performance than any of Chevrolet’s other Aveo variants, as well as the lowest emissions and best fuel economy in the range. As mid-spec LT trimmed model, it’s quite well equipped. And it’s just over £1000 cheaper than a less powerful Skoda Fabia Greenline, and £2.5k cheaper than an equivalent Ford Fiesta Econetic.
What’s it like?
Spacious, comfortable, economical and, from a ride and handling perspective, unexpectedly well rounded. All of which you’ll already know if you’ve read any of our previous reviews of the new Aveo. It’ll come as more of a surprise, though, if you’re used to the mediocre standards of the last Aveo, nee Daewoo Kalos.
The key to the Aveo’s rapid advancement is General Motors’ new global ‘Gamma II’ platform, which has been developed by GM Korea, by a team lead by European engineers, and that will serve underneath the next Vauxhall Corsa as well as this car. It’s conventional enough: a steel monocoque with a transverse engine, with MacPherson strut suspension up front and a torsion beam at the rear. But it’s also new enough – and clearly good enough – to give this budget hatch capacities and talents significantly beyond those of its forebear.
Fine packaging gives the Aveo a generous cabin, with the kind of headroom to accommodate even tall adults. The car’s driving position is excellent, with rare and plentiful downwards adjustment on the seat, and lots of reach and rake adjustment on the steering wheel.
The dashboard design, like the exterior, may be a little ‘funky’ for moderate tastes. The stylized motorbike-inspired instrument binnacle, with its digital speedometer and faux drilled casing, is compact and pleasingly simple, if a bit contrived. However, there’s an abundance of oddment storage, and while the material quality of the car’s hard fascia plastics is predictably run-of-the-mill, their fit-and-finish is quite good.