Chevrolet Aveo LTZ 1.3 VCDI (95PS) road test review
The TotallyMotor Verdict
The Aveo is a modern Chevrolet with the latest General Motors chassis underneath it and, with this 1.3-litre turbodiesel motor up front, a solid eco-performance oat 68.9mpg of quoted combined economy, and CO2 at a relatively low 108g/km.
For this TotallyMotor test drive I’m sampling the top of the range LTZ trim, which with this engine, comes in at £13,615, plus £425 for the optional Ice Silver paint. The Aveo range starts at £10,295 for the LS with a 1.2-litre petrol engine.
I covered nearly 550 miles in the Aveo during our week together with a very long motorway haul, bumper-to-bumper commuting and a little back lane faster-fun all included in the driving mix.
Chevrolet Aveo LTZ 1.3 VCDI (95PS) road test review
The Chevrolet Aveo is a bold little chap. Twin, black-backed circular headlights flank a double-deck front grille with a large, bright Chevy bowtie brand emblem mounted on the body-coloured bar that dissects the two grille levels. Its flanks are distinctly chiselled and there’s yet more conspicuous twin-lenses-on-black detailing for the rear lights. Bold indeed, and you’ve not even looked inside yet.
Personally, I find the Aveo – in this bright Ice Silver optional paint (£425) over LTZ-spec 16-inch double-five-spoke alloys – a pleasantly modern-looking picture with a substantial-looking presence. But, the thing with ‘bold’ styling is that it can force divides between buyers; a love it or hate it scenario. Still, it’s best to press for an opinion rather than fade into the background, surely?
Into the interior:
The Aveo makes its most notable styling statement inside with a future-styled, motorbike-esque instrument pod. It contains a big analogue tacho and large, bright-blue speedo (and other info) readout.
It’s a case of ‘go bold, or go home’ and it gets a thumbs up from me. But I’m no shrinking violet when it comes to cars, and, more importantly, I found this set up quick and easy to get used to and very clear to read in any light conditions. So at least the substance lives with the style.
While some of the plastics dotted around are hard to the touch, for the most part the Aveo’s interior gets modern materials and is cleanly uncluttered and neatly styled – even in this LTZ trim that gets all the Aveo interior toys. Take a look at the radio and heater controls and it’s a lesson in the smooth and clean. Fit and finish is good, but there’s no sat-nav. Oddly, however, I found the CD sound quality good, but tonally disappointing through the radio.
The driver’s seat and steering wheel get welcome adjustment in every direction you’ll need, and this is always a big test for me at well over 6-feet tall. Aveo offered an impressive feeling of space and comfort, even after several hours behind the wheel in one stint. A comfy little cruiser.
In short, the overall interior impression is good; nice quality and quite airy, if a little let down by the dowdy-looking seat fabrics. Although, even some distinctly jazzy patterns would surely pale against that just-so-funky dash binnacle.
Good news here too, folks. The 4-cylinder, 1.3-litre VCDI turbodiesel motor – which makes 95PS and 210Nm of torque – is a flexible, peppy little chap; happy to cruise quietly or go for a bit of a back lane burn.
The 6-speed manual gearbox is a well-matched treat, with clutch, brakes and gearbox action all hitting satisfying heights of right-weight-feel and assured and smooth actions.
Top speed for this respectably ‘green’ engine – 108g/km of CO2 – is a healthy enough 108mph, while 62mph comes and goes in 12.6 seconds. Sure, it doesn’t read like a pants-firing drive, but there’s good turbo-surge from the engine, and with its firm-yet-fair-feeling suspension, this Aveo manages to engage at a high enough level to encourage some quicker cog-swapping on familiar twisty roads.
Only when pushing hard did I manage to over work the suspension into a squirm here and there, which given its firmer-feeling ride on flatter roads surprised me. Cars with shorter wheelbase don’t often fair as well on braking-stability as their longer cousins, and while the Aveo is by no means poor in this area, it did get a touch twitchy under very hard braking on rough roads.
This wasn’t a huge issue for me, however, as the Aveo came across as a good all-rounder on almost every type of road that I tried, with only the really rough stuff occasionally upsetting it. And we should bear in mind that quiet, calm and collected cruising probably ranks higher on most buyers’ must-haves list than out and out apex-aggression.
I was also slightly surprised by the end-of-550-miles economy in this diesel Aveo. Just under 51mpg was the final figure after a fast, and also frugally-minded, mix of driving – the torquey little engine lets you use 6th gear very early on the speedo – but I was looking for better than the 51mpg.
Mitigating circumstances might be that this car had just over 100 miles on it when delivered and it’s pleasantly punchy power delivery encouraged more faster-fun than the average. Loosen up the engine and slot it into 6th as soon as possible and perhaps we’d see mid- to late-50s on the in-dash eco-read out? Closer to Chevy’s quoted combined economy of 68.9mpg would be better.
Ten second sum up:
The Chevrolet Aveo cuts its own styling niche in the crowded supermini segment and backs it up with a practical and well thought out interior, and some spacious space. It drives well and has a solidly engineered feel to its chassis, engine, transmission and brakes. I would’ve liked more fast-focus from the suspension and, perhaps with more miles on the clock, a few extra miles on the 50.4 miles-per-gallon I earned over our 550 mile test drive.
Prices and availability:
The Chevrolet Aveo range starts at £10,295 for the LS model with a 1.2-litre petrol engine. Price as tested, £13,615, plus £425 for the optional Ice Silver paint, for the top of the range LTZ model with a 1.3-litre diesel engine. Available now.
By Daniel Anslow