Saddled with relatively unsophisticated torsion beam rear suspension, rolling on Korean-brand tyres, measuring over 1.6 metres in height and weighing in at one and three-quarter tonnes, the square-cut Orlando is fated to come unstuck, figuratively and actually, with its handling – right? Not so. If anything, Chevrolet has engineered a little bit more outright grip and composure into the chassis than most owners will ever need.
The car feels a little bit stiff-legged on first acquaintance, riding broken surfaces with the occasional thump. On smoother surfaces the car rides more quietly and with some compliance, striking an agreeable compromise between body control and ride comfort. It doesn’t soak up urban road scars as well as some seven-seaters – and you could consider that a significant shortcoming in a people-mover – but the Orlando’s driving experience has its redeeming features.
Whereas the petrol-powered Orlando gets an electro-hydraulic power steering system, the diesels are fitted with fully hydraulic steering assistance, and although there is an efficiency penalty, we welcome the older-tech set-up. It gives the helm a smoothness and consistency that’s notable by its absence in many budget family cars, and that allows you to position the Orlando in a corner with accuracy and feel through your fingertips when you’re trying to deploy too much of the engine’s torque through the front wheels. What that all means is, without passengers on board, the Orlando’s relatively deep dynamic reserves will allow you to hurry it along a B-road with much more confidence than you’d enjoy in a Citroën Grand Picasso or Grand Scenic. And even when it’s fully laden, seven up and fitted with a fully loaded roof box, that same stoutness of dynamic reserves will allow the Chevrolet to handle twisting and undulating country roads much more precisely than some of its rivals.