2007 Chevrolet Aveo

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Review: 2007 Chevrolet Aveo

By Ann Job of MSN Autos
Rating: 7.5

Bottom Line:

Few consumers realize that the lowest-priced new vehicle in America is not a Japan-branded or Korean-branded car. It's the Chevrolet Aveo, which was updated for 2007 with better styling and interior.
Pros:
  • Improved styling
  • Decent interior
  • Low price
Cons:
  • Safety rating for 2007 vs. 2006
  • No curtain airbags
  • Noisy suspension

Remember your first new car?

If you're like a lot of consumers, it was a small, low-priced car, and it meant the world to you back then—not just for transportation but because it epitomized freedom, independence and growing up.

This is the kind of feeling that the newly refreshed-for-2007 Chevrolet Aveo can engender for entry buyers today.

Indeed, considering Chevy's Aveo has the lowest starting price of all 2007 new cars in America, including Japanese and Korean brands, a lot of shoppers could find it liberating—especially for the pocketbook.

How liberating?

In contrast to the average new vehicle price today of well over $25,000, the starting manufacturer's suggested retail price for a base Aveo5—a 5-passenger, 5-door hatchback—is just $9,995. The 2007 Aveo sedan, with seats for five and more standard equipment, starts at just over $12,000.

Some nice features
Yet, the Aveo, which was restyled and made a bit larger for the 2007 model year, doesn't look cheap, particularly when optional fog lights are added at the front to dress it up.

The Aveo also has several nice standard features and a commendable fuel economy rating of 27 miles a gallon in city driving and 37 mpg on the highway with manual transmission. When fitted with an automatic, the Aveo is rated at 26/34 mpg. These figures put the Aveo in the top third of small cars for fuel mileage.

About safety equipment …
The biggest drawback: The Aveo doesn't have curtain airbags—either standard or optional—and did worse in a government crash test rating for front-passenger protection in a frontal crash as a 2007 model than it did as a 2006.

In contrast, major competitors like the 2007 Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio, whose starting prices is less than $1,000 more than the Aveo's, include standard curtain airbags that are designed to help protect against head injuries for both front and back-seat passengers.

Note that the Aveo, like the Accent and Rio, has standard side-mounted airbags that deploy from the sides of the front seats as well as the government-mandated front airbags.

Small, pleasing car
Small, low-priced cars tend to come with 4-cylinder engines only, and the Aveo is no exception.

It's powered by a 1.6-liter double overhead cam inline 4 cylinder that generates 103 horsepower, which is about on par with others in its competitive class.

I know that the 103 horses don't sound like much. But remember the Aveo is relatively lightweight at around 2,550 pounds. In fact, it would take two Aveos to equal the weight of one Chevrolet Tahoe sport-utility vehicle.

With torque of 107 lb-ft peaking at 3400 rpm, the test Aveo sedan with automatic had an almost peppy feel in city traffic as it carried me and another passenger.

Highway travel was better than expected, too, though I made sure to plan for passing maneuvers. The engine needed time to gather momentum at highway speeds for passing, especially when I had four adults and some luggage traveling with me.

Can tell it's low-priced
I heard the Aveo's engine all the time—at idle, at stoplights and during accelerations.

There's not a lot of sound insulation here. I heard occasional loud "ba-booms" from the suspension as I traveled over uneven pavement.

Intriguingly, the sounds were worse than the actual impact. Passengers felt the road bumps as they rolled over many road bumps, even manhole covers, but they did not get roughly shaken and jostled.

The Aveo test sedan handled mostly predictably as a front-wheel-drive car, though on some long sweeping curves the car had a light, almost skittish feel.

Aveo passengers also can feel the car flutter a bit on high-wind days.

Interior improvements
What I liked most about the Aveo is the interior. It's neither gimmicky nor bare, and the car's tall roofline and large side windows convey a spacious feel.

The Aveo driver gets a pull-down armrest on the inside of the seat—something not often found on vehicles in this class.

Front sun visors include mirrors, and manual height adjustment for the driver seat gave me a comfortable, high driving position to see over the dashboard and even into cars ahead.

Also appreciated was the excellent dead pedal—a foot-sized, flat, bracing point—that was well-positioned for my use.

The mix of materials on the Aveo dashboard and doors looks good, and the Aveo's new, straightforward audio controls and decent sound are better than in some competitors.

Even the Aveo's horn is better than competitors' cheap, "little car" tone.

At the rear …
The rear seat is tight, from door to door, for three adults. But legroom back there of 35.4 feet is noteworthy. Seat cushions are up high, and passenger legs tend to extend downward more than forward.

The Aveo sedan's trunk space of 12.4 cubic feet is commendable, too, though most of this space is wedged under the rear window shelf.

Korean-built Chevrolet
Despite its prominent Chevy bowtie, the Aveo is built in South Korea.

In 2002, Chevy's parent company, General Motors Corp., took control of the struggling auto-making business of South Korea's Daewoo, which makes the Aveo.

The Aveo won't be the last Asian import rebadged for a domestic brand.

Officials at other automakers have been talking about importing a small car from China in coming years.

A final note: The Aveo comes with GM's upgraded new-car warranty coverage which includes limited powertrain coverage for five years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. Comprehensive coverage goes for three years/36,000 miles.

This isn't quite as generous as the overall warranty package at Hyundai and Kia, where buyers of new models receive limited powertrain coverage lasting 10 years/100,000 miles and where bumper-to-bumper warranty coverage lasts for five years/60,000 miles.

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BB02 - 9/21/2014 11:15:49 PM