Chevrolet Aveo hatchback
Price £10,745 - £14,095
- Easy to drive...
- ...but not fun to drive
- Poor engines
- Interior feels cheap
At a glance
"The Chevrolet Aveo is an affordable supermini that comes with plenty of equipment but feels a bit cheap and isn’t particularly good to drive."
The Chevrolet Aveo is a supermini and a rival to cars like the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Hyundai i20. It's now in its second generation and the current version is a lot better than the car it replaced. Levels of standard equipment are much better, as is the styling. From the outside, the Aveo looks really sporty, with a design reminiscent of the Volkswagen Scirocco coupe, featuring hidden rear door handles and aggressively styled headlights. The interior is similarly sporty, with an LED speedometer and stylish rev counter.
Fortunately, the pretty face comes with a reasonably practical interior, boasting decent levels of space. The Chevy isavailable with a diesel engine that offers some impressive economy and efficiency figures, which also helps to make the Aveo a bit more desirable – which is lucky, because overall the car really isn’t particularly good. The engines feel underpowered, the handling lacklustre, and the interior may be sporty-looking but it feels fairly cheap.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Efficient diesel offers tax-free motoring
The Aveo isn’t the most efficient of superminis, but it is available with a 1.3-litre VCDi Ecodiesel with stop-start technology that offers pretty decent economy. It will do 78.4mpg and emits 95g/km CO2, which isn’t up there with the best in class but still translates to very low running costs, thanks to it being exempt from road tax.
There's also a 1.2-litre petrol engine that will do 60.1mpg and 111g/km CO2, putting it in tax band C, which is free for the first year and £30 a year thereafter. And the range is completed by a 1.4-litre petrol engine with an automatic gearbox which will do 45.5mpg and 145g/km CO2. That puts it in tax band F with an annual cost of £140. The Aveo comes with a five-year/100,000-mile warranty and a year's free roadside assistance, which should help to keep costs down.
Interior & comfort
Comfortable and spacious interior but cabin gets noisy
This version of the Aveo is both wider and longer than the car it replaces, and that has allowed for plenty of head and legroom. Four adults can easily sit in comfort in the spacious interior – and you can squeeze a fifth into the middle back seat for short trips, too.
The suspension has been setup for comfort, so it's soft and cosseting and will soak up most bumps and potholes. The seats are nice and supportive and the driving position is good thanks to the fact that there is plenty of scope for adjustment in the seat and steering wheel.
One of the problems with the Aveo is that the cabin isn’t particularly well insulated and wind and road noise is quite intrusive. Another is that the engines are a bit underpowered, so you have to work them hard to keep up with traffic on motorways and A-roads, which adds to the problem of noise - as a result, the Aveo js not a comfortable motorway cruiser in the way that a Volkswagen Polo is.
Practicality & boot space
Decent sized boot and practical five-door layout
The Chevrolet Aveo only comes as a five-door, which makes accessing all seats nice and easy. The interior is well though out, too, and there are plenty of useful storage cubbyholes including trays under the front seats plus a two-level glovebox big enough to store CDs and phones.
The boot offers a decent 290 litres of capacity – which is on a par with the Ford Fiesta and slightly bigger than the Volkswagen Polo but a good 25 litres smaller than the Skoda Fabia's. Split-fold rear seats are fitted as standard, which is good, but folding them down only creates a 653-litre load space, which is pretty poor. The Volkswagen Polo has 952 litres in this configuration, while the Peugeot 208's boot expands to 1,152 litres. To make matters worse, the Aveo's boot opening is a bit on the narrow side, which makes loading bulky items a bit awkward.
Reliability & safety
Comes with a five-star safety rating and excellent warranty
Chevrolet doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to reliability – at least as far as UK owners are concerned. It was rated the worst brand in the 2011 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey results, dropped out of the manufacturer rankings completely in 2012, before storming back in to 20th position (out of 32) in the 2013 league table. No serious problems have been reported on the Aveo, though, and it shares all its components and engines with other cars in the Chevrolet and Vauxhall range, so they should prove to be fairly dependable. It comes with a five-year/100,000-mile warranty, too, which should allay any doubts potential buyers might have.
The car scored the maximum five-star safety rating in the Euro NCAP crash tests – with a superb 95 per cent in the Adult Occupant Protection category being a particularly stand-out mark. All versions of the Aveo come as standard with six airbags, traction control, ABS, electronic stability control and an active bonnet system designed to protect pedestrians in the event of a crash.
Engines, drive & performance
The Aveo is comfortable but not great to drive
The Chevrolet Aveo hasn’t been designed to be a driver's car. If you want a supermini that's fun to throw around winding country roads then we suggest you take a look at the Ford Fiesta or MINI Cooper. The Aveo is comfortable and competent, rather than exciting. The steering is pretty light but accurate, which does at least make it easy to drive around town, and its compact dimensions make it easy to park.
The engines are a bit underpowered though - there are three to choose from: a diesel and two petrols. All of them perform fine around town but start to struggle when asked to get you up to motorway speeds. As a result, you’ll have to keep your foot pressed to the floor, which tends to make the engines a little noisy. This problem's made worse by the fact that the manual gearbox only has five gears – it could really do with a sixth for cruising on the motorway. The 1.4-litre petrol is available with a six-speed automatic gearbox, but it has a negative effect on the car's economy and efficiency, and gets pretty noisy.
Price, value for money & options
Not cheap enough to make it worth choosing over more capable rivals
The Chevrolet Aveo is fairly cheap to buy and comes with a decent level of equipment. There are three specification levels: entry-level LS, mid-spec LT, and top-spec LTZ. LS cars don’t get alloy wheels but do come with digital radio, USB and iPod connectivity and cruise control. LT models get 15-inch alloys, steering-wheel mounted audio controls and chrome grille surrounds, while top-spec cars get 16-inch alloys, Chevrolet MyLink connected radio, rear parking sensors and a leather steering wheel.
What the others say
"It isn't as involving as some of the competition. Despite being a small car it feels comfortable on the motorway and soaks up the bumps without issue."
"There's a fair bit of movement in the suspension, which translates into obvious body roll, and in a series of bends, the body sway can struggle to keep up with the car's changes of direction."
"This Aveo is a far more complete car. The quality of the interior is good and it feels well built too, although there are some hard plastics inside which aren't particularly pleasant to touch. Overall though, it's a comfortable and spacious interior."