What is it?
The old Aveo was never a car likely to win any sort of praise from us here at TopGear. It was a budget shopping trolley, no more. Chevrolet is a company on the up though, and after the thoroughly OK Spark, Cruze and Orlando comes this, an all-new Aveo. It is one of the more important recent Chevrolets to be launched, given how many superminis are sold in the UK each year, so a strong performance is essential.
Good job first impressions are positive then, with far more meaty styling than the old one that helps it stand out in the small car market. Special praise from Euro NCAP in awarding a five-star rating proves there’s substance beneath, too.
Chevrolet has an advantage over GM sister company Vauxhall here, for the Aveo actually uses the next-generation Corsa platform. This means it is pretty competent in all areas, with a sophisticated and mature feel that’s worlds apart from the dreadful old one. Ride and handling are up to scratch, and it flows through bends with decent accuracy despite a bit too much body roll for European tastes.
The engines are far better too: for the first time, there is a 1.3-litre turbodiesel, which proves torquey and useful (albeit rather rattly with it). Most buyers will choose petrol though, particularly the able new 1.2-litre. This is again a bit vocal but still pretty impressive for a budget supermini shopper.
On the inside
As with the smaller Chevrolet Spark, the Aveo has a very modern and good-looking interior. It carries over the motorcycle styling theme with a combined digital speedo and analogue rev counter pack. Thanks to a flowing dash and choice of contrast plastics, it all looks very modern indeed, particularly as it uses some controls and switchgear also seen on the Vauxhall Insignia. Just don’t look too closely, as the plastics lack the solid quality of a VW Polo or Kia Rio. Space-wise, it’s fine up front but perhaps a little tight in the rear for taller teens. The 290-litre boot is more than class- competitive for capacity, though.
The old Aveo was cheap to buy but felt it so strongly, even its budget prices seemed excessive. The new one is far more competitive, which has allowed Chevrolet to push up the list prices a bit. It’s still keenly pitched against models such as the Ford Fiesta, but not quite as cheap as before. See it on a par with the Kia Rio and Hyundai i20, offering a little bit more supermini for a little bit less up front than a big household-name brand. It will be cheap to run too, particularly the diesel that does up to 78mpg. The 1.2 has been revised with a new engine that has stop-start, and now claims 60.1mpg.