The hydraulic steering brings reasonable feel, weight and feedback, but might be on the heavy side for some during car park shimmies. Vocal (but not coarse) at high revs, the 1.2 petrol engine isn’t embarrassed here, and doesn’t intrude at motorway speeds in fifth. Gear changes are pleasant when not rushed, and brakes are effective following a little dead travel.
Bold styling dominates the Aveo’s look, inside and out. It has a compact sturdiness not dissimilar to the VW Polo, albeit with rising lines on the flanks to add some dynamism. The split front grille clearly relates the car to stable mates such as the Spark and Cruze, but twin headlamps on each side lend the Aveo character of its own. Only the heavy-set rump and fiddly rear light clusters disrupt what is a generally composed look.
Like the Vauxhall Astra, the Aveo’s interior benefits from Insignia switchgear, combined with original touches, including a compact motorbike-style binnacle that houses an analogue tachometer and digital speedo. Its elaborate plastic housing might raise some eyebrows, but you can’t dispute the instrument clarity. Sturdy, textured surfaces dominate the dash, while much of the remaining interior plastic is on the scratchy side.
The seats are sculpted but soft, and leave the driver slightly perched. One six-footer behind another found their knees marginally pushing into those soft seats, but headroom was plentiful. Boot space satisfies the class average at 290 litres.
Standard equipment includes six airbags, cruise control, iPod connectivity and rear spoiler, and air-conditioning might even make the final spec list by the car’s September launch. Either way, it’s an impressive haul of gear.
Should I buy one?
The five-year warranty and healthy basic spec alone will tempt buyers with a £10k limit, but add the Aveo’s (mostly) compelling style and the impressive level of comfort it offers, and it’s a supermini that’s well worth considering.
A lack of driver involvement won’t worry the bulk of potential owners, but a nearly new Fiesta can offer much more excitement if you’re prepared to play second fiddle on the V5.
Chevrolet Aveo 1.2LS
Price: from £9750 (est); Top speed: 106mph; 0-62mph: 13.4sec; Economy: 51.4mpg (combined); CO2: 129g/km; Kerb weight: 1070kg; Engine type, cc: 4 cyls, 1229cc, petrol; Power: 85bhp at 5600rpm; Torque: 85lb ft at 4000rpm; Gearbox: 5-spd manual