Chevrolet Aveo hatchback (2011-2015)
"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."
- Easy to drive
- Not much fun
- Interior feels cheap
- Not available new any more
The Chevrolet Aveo was a supermini rival to cars like the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Hyundai i20. The second-generation pictured here was a lot better than the car it replaced. But that wasn't enough to lead buyers to swap their superminis in huge numbers, leading Chevrolet to stop selling cars in the UK. So if you really want an Aveo, you'll need to search through the used-car classifieds.
Standard equipment was much improved over the original Aveo, as was the styling. From the outside, the Aveo looked really sporty and featured hidden rear door handles and aggressively styled headlights. The interior was similarly sporty, with an LED speedometer and stylish rev counter.
Fortunately, the pretty face came with a reasonably practical interior, boasting a decent amount of space. Plus, the Chevy was available with a diesel engine offering impressive fuel economy. The rest of the engines felt underpowered, with lacklustre handling and a cheap-feeling interior also counting against the car.
Here's what we said about the Chevy Aveo in 2012...
MPG, running costs & CO2
The Aveo isn't the most efficient supermini, but it is available with a 1.3-litre VCDi diesel engine with stop-start technology that offers pretty decent fuel economy. It'll do 78.4mpg and emits 95g/km of CO2, which isn't up there with the best in class, but still translates to very low running costs, including exemption from road tax.
There's also a 1.2-litre petrol that'll do 60.1mpg and emits 111g/km of CO2, for £30-a-year tax. The range is completed by a 1.4-litre petrol with an automatic gearbox, which should do 45.5mpg and emits 145g/km CO2. That puts the annual road tax cost at £140. The Aveo comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty and a year's free roadside assistance, which should help to keep costs down further.
Engines, drive & performance
The Chevrolet Aveo wasn't 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, yet accurate, which does at least make the car easy to drive around town, while compact dimensions make the Aveo easy to park.
The engines feel a bit underpowered, though. There are three to choose from: a diesel and two petrols. All perform fine around town, but start to struggle when asked to reach motorway speeds. As a result, you'll have to keep your foot pressed to the floor, which tends to make things a little noisy.
This problem is 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 six-speed automatic transmission, but this has a negative effect on the car's economy and efficiency.
Interior & comfort
This version of the Aveo is both wider and longer than the car it replaced and that's 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 central back seat for short trips, too.
The suspension has been set up 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, as there's plenty of scope for adjustment in the seat and steering wheel.
One of the big problems with the Aveo is that the cabin isn't particularly well insulated, so wind and road noise are 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 noise . As a result of these issues, the Aveo isn't a comfortable motorway cruiser in the way that a Volkswagen Polo is.
Practicality & boot space
The Chevrolet Aveo only comes as a five-door, which makes accessing all the seats nice and easy. The interior is well though-out, too: there are plenty of useful storage cubbyholes, including trays under the front seats plus a two-level glovebox that's big enough to store CDs and phones.
The boot offers a decent 290 litres of luggage capacity – which is on par with the Ford Fiesta and slightly bigger than the Volkswagen Polo, but a good 25 litres smaller than the Skoda Fabia's. Split-folding 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 on the narrow side, which makes loading bulky items a bit awkward.
Reliability & safety
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 our 2011 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, then dropped out of the manufacturer rankings completely in 2012 before storming back to 20th position (out of 32) in the 2013 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 ranges, so they should prove to be fairly dependable. The car comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, too, which should allay any doubts potential buyers might have.
The car scored the maximum five-star safety rating in Euro NCAP crash-testing, with a superb 95% score in the adult occupant protection category. All versions of the Aveo come as standard with six airbags, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and an active bonnet system designed to protect pedestrians in the event of a crash.
Price, value for money & options
The Chevrolet Aveo is fairly cheap to buy and comes with a decent amount of equipment. There are three specification trims: entry-level LS, mid-range LT and top-spec LTZ. LS cars don't get alloy wheels, but do come with DAB digital radio, USB and iPod connectivity and cruise control. LT models get 15-inch alloys, steering-wheel mounted stereo controls and chrome grille surrounds, while top-spec cars get 16-inch alloys, a Chevrolet MyLink connected radio, rear parking sensors and a leather steering wheel. But the Aveo is up against some very competent rivals and we don't think the price is low enough to justify buying one over a Ford Fiesta or Volkswagen Polo.