Chevrolet has sourced a very respectable 2.0-litre common-rail diesel engine for the Orlando.
We tested a more powerful diesel engine with a manual gearbox and barely 1000 miles on the clock, and high internal friction might have contributed to the slight turbo lag that we felt in the lower intermediate gears during our acceleration tests. The 10.2sec 0-60mph we recorded could probably be bettered in something with a few more miles on the clock.
The engine’s generous mid-range shows itself more clearly in acceleration from 50 to 70mph in fifth gear. A Grand C-Max 2.0 TDCi takes 8.8sec to crack that task and a 1.6-litre diesel Peugeot 5008 needs 9.8sec, but the Chevrolet does it in 8.3sec. Building speed in this car is easily achieved and seldom requires a lower gear, thanks to that 266lb ft of torque.
The 47.1mpg we recorded during our touring economy test matches Chevrolet’s overall claim exactly, suggesting that, if you’re prepared to keep to a 70mph motorway cruise, you’ll get commendable fuel efficiency from the Orlando. Up your motorway cruising pace to less aerodynamically efficient levels, though, and you’ll be lucky to better 37mpg.
Whether you’re hurrying the car along or not, however, one thing you won’t have to put up with is shoddy mechanical refinement. The 2.0-litre diesel is much more refined than you might expect – quieter and smoother, even, than GM’s own 158bhp 2.0 CDTi engine in some cars we’ve sampled. It remains relatively quiet and smooth even at high revs, and although it does begin to get breathless above 4000rpm, you’ll hardly ever need much more than 3000rpm in daily driving.
The less powerful 128bhp diesel inevitably sacrifices some of that pace, but it doesn’t feel unduly slow, even when the car is fully laden, and is only marginally less usable than its higher powered cousin. As a result, it is the best-seller in the range.
However, the 1.8 petrol, although offering a low entry price, is weak and noisy. If you plan to fully load your Orlando - and presumably that's the point - we would strongly recommend steering clear of this engine.