Things I would rather do than spend another weekend in a Chevrolet Aveo:
1) Staple my face to the side of a fast-moving train.
2) Watch golf.
3) Perform a rectal examination on an enraged, territorial chimpanzee.
I could go on. The Aveo really is that bad. No, not bad exactly. Bad would be OK. You could come in on Monday morning and have a laugh about how dashed funny it was when the steering rack worked itself loose at 80mph, and that the only frequency the radio picked up was the mental workings of The Stig (bleeps and the faint noise of pigeons cooing, since you ask). The Aveo is worse than bad. It’s nothingy.
By way of proof, just look at its nose. No, it’s not as ha-ha-amusingly ugly as a Subaru Tribeca. But look at the Chevy badge, wedged between the two halves of the grille. Why the hell did that end up there? You can just imagine the Chevrolet designers in their final meeting, slamming their sketch-books shut with a contented thud, and one of them piping up, “Er, guys... bad news. We forgot to put the badge on.”
Looks, of course, are subjective. You might love it. You might. But, at some point, you’d have to get in the Aveo and actually drive it. And then you’d be sad. It’s just – and here’s that word again – nothingy. Lifeless and corpulent, like a comatose publican.
I drove the 1.4-litre petrol, the performance engine in the line-up. There’s a 1.2-litre petrol too. I assume it comes with a CD of ‘Best Mournful Weeping Sounds of the 90s’. The 1.4 will hit 60mph in 12 seconds. It feels like longer. The steering is lifeless, the engine sounds crude and thrashy, and the brakes are vague. At one point, the engine stuck at about 3,000rpm, refusing to return to idle. I quite liked that.
The Aveo might have a place as a road safety measure. You end up driving slowly, just because it’s too depressing to try to push on. That said, I spent the weekend hoping someone would crash into me – not hard, you understand, no death or breaking of bones or anything, just a nice satisfying thud – because it would liven up the tedium. They didn’t.
OK, the Aveo may be rubbish, but at least it’s cheap, eh? No. No it isn’t. Our test model weighed in at £9,545. Yes, you get trinketry like heated mirrors and steering-wheel-mounted controls, but you could buy a Mazda2 for that money. Or, if you hang on a month of two, a new Fiesta. Or a new Jazz. Or, if you can’t wait that long,just walk. You’ll be happier.