From £17,695
A striking-looking new seven-seater with dynamics and refinement to match. And in 128bhp diesel form, good value, too.
Julian Rendell
11 February 2011

What is it?

The Chevy Orlando MPV is an early candidate for most surprising car of the year, for all the right reasons, of course.

Refined and good to drive, roomy and pleasing to look at, the Orlando scores a home run in what is turning out to be a competitive year for seven-seaters. Also new in dealers are the Ford Grand C-Max and revised VW Touran, while a new Vauxhall Zafira, the Orlando’s platform-twin, will launch at Geneva.

What's it like?

The Orlando’s strengths are a balance of dynamic qualities, a responsive chassis yet compliant ride, combined with quiet but punchy diesels and a useful roster of MPV practicality.

From the three engine — one petrol, two diesel —range, on balance we recommend the lower power of the two 2.0-litre diesels, tested here. Although it gives away 32bhp, the performance difference isn’t limiting and the factory figures for fuel economy and emission are identical.

Critically, in mid-spec LT trim the 128bhp diesel is usefully £1750 cheaper.

We’ve already praised the diesels in the key rival, the new C-Max, for refinement and the Orlando, surprisingly is their match. Surprising because this is not a state-of-the-art diesel, but a proven design by Italian manufacturer VM that, for curious corporate reasons, is actually a variant of Hyundai’s 2.2-litre unit.

It provides sweet progress throughout the operating range, but feels especially relaxed cruising multi-lanes in sixth gear, partly because the gearing is well judged to allow acceleration without dropping down a gear.

At these speeds the Orlando drops its refinement cloak a little with intrusive wind noise, but tyre noise is well contained, unlike some rivals. Inside the Orlando has a well-thought out cabin, the highlight of which is a hidden dashboard cubby revealed behind a hinging stereo fascia. It’s a genius piece of design that deserves to be copied.

The plastics are good enough quality, although not outstanding, and the mid-row of seats tumble/fold, rather than slide/fold, which in theory makes them easier to operate than the Zafira, for example, particularly when child seats are belted in.


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But the folding mechanisms on the test cars were of variable quality, some getting stuck half way through the tumble fold. And for the facelift Chevy needs to redesign the awkwardly-shaped gearknob.

Should I buy one?

The new Orlando is a terrific new addition to the ranks of seven-seat family battle-wagons. Well done Chevy, you’ve surprised us all.

Chevrolet Orlando 2.0 VCDi

Price: £18,645; Top speed: 112mph; 0-62mph: 10.3sec; Economy: 47mpg; Co2: 159g/km; Kerb weight: 1655kg; Engine type, cc: Four-cyl, transverse, 1998cc; Power: 128bhp @ 3800rpm; Torque: 232lbft @ 2000rpm; Gearbox: Six-speed manual

Join the debate


11 February 2011

I've liked the look of this car since I saw the first press pictures of it a couple of months back. Something about the chunky, robust nature of it, without being over the top.

However I am genuinely surprised to hear that it isn't a bad car to drive either!

If they get the pricing structure right, I can see this being a real hit.

11 February 2011

Chevy Europe has the potential, once all the Daewoo rubbish eventually dies off! I second the remarks about the Orlando its a nice looking motor! hows about a replacement for the Aveo though it cant come quick enough!

11 February 2011

Looks crap, sounds like it's half decent and would want to have a poke around the interior. Surprisingly the dash doesn't look at busy as the Insignia - my main complaint with current GMs.

Is it genuinely any good? Deal breakers would be if the middle row only slides as a bench and doesn't split/fold seperately - I found this very frustrating in the Zafira. Also would be the system on the 3rd row seats - if again, like the Zafira, I found this very frustrating.

Finally - does the new Mazda 5 not count as new in the showrooms?

12 February 2011

I actually think this is quite attractive.

I like the more "Chunky" look it has. It looks more like an off roader than some other people carriers. The S-Max's bonnet for instance is too MPV.

I prefer this Orlando to the Asthetically challenged C-Max.

14 February 2011

I think the rear is a mess

14 February 2011

hum. Needs a sliding rear door or not interested.

Sold the wife's C5 a short while back and bought the stupidly named Peugeot Partner Tepee she wanted, and which I thought she was mad for liking. Weedy diesel, underpowered, clearly a van and so on. But it's great. Those rear doors make piling small people in and out a cinch, and while the sliding mechanism is carried over unchanged from the van it's all based on, the Partner Tepee still a very car-like thing to drive and ride in, plus the raised ground clearance aids visibility - not to mention helping loading and unloading. So it's basically very easy to get things in and out of, which is really what you want.

The 90bhp oil burner I was afraid would scoff at the demands of my right foot is actually a perfect match, and isn't that slow anyway, not that the missus uses more than 7bhp of any car she gets into. There is storage under your seat and storage in overhead lockers. Storage in the middle of the car. Storage between the four sun panels which are in themselves sufficient to keep the small people in the back amazed. An airline style roof mounted blower to keep the rear passengers cool. Integrated satnav. Parking sensors. Aircon. Plus it was cheaper than the C5 despite being two years newer and having fewer miles.

So, er, think I'll be giving this Orlando a miss - particularly as it has those extra seats families are told they should have but which few of us actually need. Longer and harder to park too.

14 February 2011

Why does the Orlando's dashboard make me think of Blakes 7?

15 February 2011

[quote ThwartedEfforts]hum. Needs a sliding rear door or not interested[/quote]

The problem with sliding doors on small MPV's like these is that they look, well, Silly!

Sliding Doors look ok on larger MPV's like the Grand Voyager, Kia Sedone, VW Sharan etc etc.

Sliding doors on a small MPV leave you with somthing that either looks like somthing went wrong, See Ford C-Max, or, it ends up looking like a van with windows like those strange Fiat and CItroen ones.

17 February 2011

A visual disaster area much too blocky, the rear end is a joke and that it looks like a SUV is no recommendation.

19 February 2011

Seems like Chevrolet/Daewoo are on a roll the first the Cruze then the Spark and now this, good looking cars keenly priced.

Look forward to the new Aveo due later this year

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