2006 Chevrolet Aveo

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2004 Chevrolet Aveo

This 2004 review is representative of model years 2004 to 2006.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
Rating: 7

Bottom Line:

Affordable new entry Chevrolet from South Korea is better than expected.
Pros:
  • Roomy
  • Decent ride and handling
  • Responsive automatic transmission
Cons:
  • Moderate highway punch
  • Rubbery manual gearbox shifter
  • Small radio controls

The new entry level Chevrolet Aveo carries a familiar nameplate, but really is a South Korean car designed by the bankrupt Daewoo Motor.

Sound odd? Well, it's an upside-down auto world these days, with many car producers owning parts of other automakers in different countries.

The Aveo is made in South Korea by an outfit formed by General Motors after it bought parts of Daewoo. GM also has introduced other Daewoo models with the Suzuki badge because it owns a stake in that Japanese automaker.

Replaces Cavalier
The Aveo is sold at approximately 4,100 Chevrolet dealers across the country. It replaces the aged Cavalier as the automaker's entry-level car because the Cavalier will be succeeded for 2005 by the new, larger, more upscale Chevy Cobalt.

The Aveo is expected to attract young, first-time car buyers, with hopes that they'll eventually move up to the Cobalt and other higher-priced Chevy vehicles.

Functional Design
The small, front-wheel-drive Aveo was designed by Italy's prestigious Italdesign studios. It's no thing of beauty, with its tall, narrow and upright functional design. But it has clean lines and short front and rear overhangs for maximum interior room.

The Aveo has good fit and finish and comes as a 4-door hatchback and as a 4-door sedan that's about 14 inches longer than the hatchback at 166.7 inches.

Aveos with the lowest price are the SVM 4-door hatchback and sedan. Both list for $9,455 and only have a moderate amount of equipment, such as power steering, a tilt wheel, an AM-FM radio and a rear defogger.

The SVM is basically a price leader intended to draw potential Aveo customers to showrooms, where they're expected to opt for more costly Aveos.

Rubbery shifter
The standard 5-speed manual transmission allows the best acceleration but has an annoying, rubbery action. The $850 4-speed automatic is responsive, but saps some power from the small 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine.

The automatic's gated shifter is notchy, but lets a driver shift manually—although there's little point in shifting. Just slip the transmission in "drive" and go.

The midrange Base 4-door hatchback and sedan cost $11,150 and the top-line LS sedan and hatchback cost $12,045. The LS adds desirable features such as air conditioning, heated, fold-away mirrors, an AM/FM/CD/MP3 player and power windows and locks with remote keyless entry.

Among the few Aveo extras are $400 anti-lock brakes for the Base and LS. There is a $225 rear spoiler for those versions and a $725 power sunroof and $375 alloy wheels for the LS.

Smooth Engine
The engine produces 103 horsepower. It's smoother than most engines in its class, but gets noisy when pushed. Acceleration is lively to 60 mph, but the engine loses steam after that. The 65-75 mph passing time is a yawner, although the engine doesn't sound or feel like it's working hard during steady 70 mph cruising.

Fuel economy is a strong point—as it better be for an entry Chevy. The Aveo delivers an estimated 26-27 mpg in the city and 34-36 on highways. Only 87-octane gasoline is required.

The Aveo's size and fairly light weight make it nimble. The steering is OK and the turning circle is tight. Handling is handicapped by small 14-inch wheels, but is decent if the car isn't pushed too hard. The ride is supple, and the brakes work well, controlled by a user-friendly pedal.

Roomy
The Aveo is very roomy for its size. It comfortably accommodates four tall adults in its fairly quiet interior. A high roof allows plenty of headroom, and the upright seating provides a good view of surroundings.

Cargo space is modest with the back seat in its normal position. The sedan's rear seat folds flat to provide more cargo space, but the hatchback takes the prize for cargo room; its rear seat folds flat and flips forward to offer an impressive 42 cubic feel of cargo space.

Upscale Interior
The interior has an upscale appearance one might not expect in a low-priced car. The front seats are supportive and white-on-black gauges can be quickly read, although radio controls are too small—as are the sun visors. The driver's outside mirror has a manual control, but it's easy to use. And there's a power passenger-side outside mirror.

GM made only a few last-minute changes to the Aveo, but it's a surprisingly good little car that is a lot more modern than the Cavalier.

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BB02 - 7/25/2014 6:31:06 PM