Not quite good enough yet, but expect the facelifted car to offer top value. Cabbies should form an orderly queue.
25 July 2005

Don’t be put off by our first verdict on the Evanda - Chevrolet assures us that the car that appears at Geneva next year and hits our roads from August will be a very different beast.

Still, this is our first taste of what will be the biggest Chevrolet saloon on UK roads. It’s already on sale in continental Europe, but the facelifted car will have a new Euro-friendly name, a new face – bearing close resemblance to that of the S3X off-roader concept – and thoroughly revised interior and suspension.

Which is a good thing. The current Evanda looks reasonable - as a slightly bland, far eastern interpretation of the Citroen C5 – but inside it’s a child of the Daewoo generation, with a high seat, a reach adjust-only wheel and slabs of dreadful wannabe wood.

The all-Korean platform is a bit of a disaster too, with a ride that seeks out road scarring despite its maritime floatiness. Body control isn’t much better, you’ll opt for motorways rather than that favourite cross-country route.

But then the Daewoo Leganza wasn’t much of a B-road basher, unless you count Silverthorn Road in Battersea, and like the minicab favourite Leganza – and indeed the target Skoda Octavia or Hyundai Sonata - the new Chevy saloon will tempt buyers who value a vast spec list and tiny list price over dynamic ability.

Still, the hours currently being spent pounding Millbrook Proving Ground bode well for its performance on UK roads.

Engine-wise, we’d avoid the thrashy 2.0 petrol - the 2.0- or 2.5-litre compact straight-sixes should better tackle the job of hauling the Chevrolet between fares. But big news for fleet buyers and cabbies alike will be the 155bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel – add a large boot, spacious cabin and a three-year free servicing deal and we can see that star rating rise.

Alastair Clements

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