Review: 2007 Chevrolet Aveo
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
The lowest end of the car market has never been cracked by General Motors on its own because American wage rates don't allow profitable small economy cars. The entry-level 2007 Aveo thus carries a Chevrolet badge, but comes from South Korea.
The Aveo is Chevrolet's best-selling model in Europe. It arrived in America for the 2004 model year as a base transportation model after GM bought South Korea's Daewoo and renamed the Daewoo Kalos the Aveo.
The Aveo has been well-accepted because it's an inexpensive economy car with a well-known nameplate and is sold by thousands of Chevy dealers. Automakers like entry cars such as the Aveo because they attract many young, first-time buyers. Indeed, the Aveo is a near-perfect car in which to send kids to college.
Revamped Sedan Version
The mechanically similar Aveo5 4-door hatchback has more versatility, but remains virtually unchanged for 2007. Improvements include an improved suspension, quieter interior and folding driver armrest. New uplevel options include an AM/FM stereo with CD/MP3 player and auxiliary input jack for iPods. The Aveo5 is sold as the SVM (Special Value Model) and higher-line LS.
The Aveo5 is priced at $9,430 and $11,860, while the entry LS sedan lists at $12,010 and the higher-line LT is $13,450 for the Aveo5 and $13,510 for the sedan.
The higher-line LT sedan adds an AM/FM stereo with a CD/MP3 player, cruise control, 15-inch (vs. 14-inch) wheels and power windows, outside heated mirrors and locks with remote keyless entry.
Those with a car budget that isn't too tight can get the LS sedan with cruise control and those power items in a $425 package.
No side-curtain air bags are offered, but $400 anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution is a key option. Also offered are a power sunroof, front perforated leatherette bucket seats and upscale sound systems for the LT, with optional steering wheel audio controls.
However, the $225 real spoiler just looks silly on both the sedan and hatchback, although you can bet that some dealers will put it on cars in their inventory to make a few extra bucks.
Rubbery Shift Action
Although small, the 103-horsepower engine is sophisticated, with dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. It performs well in town, but merging onto freeways and passing on highways leaves you wanting more punch, even with just a driver aboard. A fairly decent 65-75 mph pass calls for a downshift to third gear with the manual transmission.
The engine turns over at a high 3000 rpm in overdrive fifth gear, but doesn't sound strained during highway cruising.
Good Fuel Economy
The first-generation Aveo mostly competed against such South Korean autos as the Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent. But it now faces stiffer competition from the new Japanese Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and Nissan Versa small economy cars—although the Aveo undercuts them on base prices.
The variable-rate steering is average, as are handling and braking, although the suspension has been refined to provide more responsive handling. The brake pedal has a rather soft action, and the narrow 14-inch tires handicap roadability.
Large, body-color door handles make it easy to enter the upgraded sedan's interior, which has an enhanced acoustical package for more noise isolation.
Gauges can be quickly read, and sound and climate control systems are fairly easy to use. However, more interior storage space would be nice.
Being a hatchback, the Aveo5 naturally offers more utility. But the sedan's trunk provides a generous cargo area, which can be enlarged by folding the rear seatbacks forward.
The Aveo—most especially the sedan version—is more able to confront stiffer competition. And let's not forget that it's got all those Chevy dealers out there in all parts of the country ready to support it.