• Mar 15, 2007
Click image for a gallery of 52 photos

With cars, first impressions carry a lot of influence. Bad first impression? Then it's on to the next candidate. But when a car connects at that first meeting, you're inclined to hang around a bit to see what else it has to offer. And so goes the story of my time with the Chevy Aveo.

The Aveo arrived after we spent a week with the luxurious and capable Cadillac SRX. To say that personally-held expectations regarding the rebadged Daewoo were low would be understating the matter. The previous generation, despite being a strong seller for GM, was stylistically uninspiring, and it would not have been the least bit surprising to find more of the same in the new one. Upon taking delivery of Autoblog's shiny blue loaner, we were taken aback. The Aveo, you see, makes quite a good first impression.


2007 Chevy Aveo LTMake no mistake: this is not a car that will floor you with avant-garde looks. That said, the restyling it has undergone for the 2007 model year is very effective. The bland anonymity of the 1st-gen Aveo has been replaced by a new look that clearly and effectively defines it as a Chevy. The redesigned front end is quite good-looking -- particularly when you compare it to other cars in the econobox/sedan segment. It's definitely more attractive than its hometown (remember, the Aveo's Korean) rival, the Hyundai Accent. A chrome split-bar grille wears a prominent bowtie, clearly establishing the Aveo as a Chevy. Large headlights that sport a familial shape (think Cobalt) flank it, and the rest of the fascia is an all-body-color affair that ends with three cutouts below the bumper. The two on either end house fog/driving lights, a $110 option on our Aveo LT.

Continuing the walkaround, the car's side profile is pretty generic. Bulging wheel flares and an accent line that runs along the upper part of the body from the headlights to the taillamps help keep the car from looking overly slab-sided despite its high beltline. A second line runs along the lower half of the doors. There's no rub strip, interestingly enough. Cheap-looking black plastic inserts take the place of proper glass in the after portion of the rear windows, and the car's 15-inch five-spoke alloys look tiny against the rest of the body. The car's thick C-pillar extends deep into the rear decklid, and the tail end of the Aveo is dominated by a pair of oversized, tunerrific Altezza-style clear lamps, which are connected by a chrome accent strip like the ones seen on the rumps of numerous other Chevrolets.

2007 Chevy Aveo LTOpening the door to inspect the Aveo's interior is another eyebrow-raising experience. The test car was outfitted with a very pleasant-looking tan cabin. The seats, upholstered with perforated leatherette faux hides (a $250 option), included a folding armrest for the driver. The leatherette made them look more expensive than they actually were, and the neutral color is also used on the doors and lower part of the dashboard. Woodgrain inserts act as a bridge from the lighter tone to the black plastic that make up the door panel tops and most of the dashboard. The instrument cluster is easy-to read and sensible, with semicircular units for the speedometer and tachometer, and smaller round fuel and temperature gauges set above and between them. The binnacle that surrounds it (as well as the rest of the upper dash surfaces) has a puckered, golf ball-like texture.

2007 Chevy Aveo LTAudio and HVAC controls are a snap to use. Thoughtful touches include a flip-down eyeglass holder above the driver's window (this was immediately put to use). It should be noted that the eyeglass holder is flimsy-feeling (a small hinge is all that connects it to the roof), causing us to wonder what its lifespan will be under the rigors of daily use. Still, the interior's significantly more pleasant than we expected to see in a $15,000 car, and it keeps the Aveo from feeling like a total penalty box while you're sitting in rush hour traffic with the rest of the commuters.

2007 Chevy Aveo LTTrunk space is rated at 12.4 cubic feet, and it seemed plenty spacious for a car of this size. It's got a bare-bones non-carpeted liner, and if you need to carry larger items, the rear seatbacks fold down to expose a good-sized pass-through to the interior of the car. As for other interior storage, it's lacking. There's the glove box, of course, but outside of that, you'll be relying on your pockets. There's no center console storage bin; instead, you make do with a shallow tray. The door pockets are pretty deep, though, and that's where we kept things like CDs and an MP3 player when not in use. The cupholders that pop out of the center stack are pathetic at best. Designed to hold shorter containers such as 12 oz. cans, they were useless for carrying the preferred travel coffee mug of your humble correspondent. Taller cups or bottles either resided at a dangerous angle, ready to fall out or spill at any moment (if they even fit in the first place). The back seat passengers get kind of shafted, too, as they're given a single cupholder at the trailing edge of the center console. That said, it's the best one in the car. Unfortunately, it's a bit of a reach from up front unless your name is Reed Richards.

2007 Chevy Aveo LTIn terms of comfort, front seat passengers are treated to plenty of headroom, a commodity that is curiously lacking in back, despite the car's tall-roof look. Forward seating is comfortable enough, but don't expect much in the way of lateral support. Moving to row two, both my father and I, neither of whom is in danger of cracking an NBA lineup, found that if we placed ourselves flush to the rear seat's backrest, our heads brushed the downward slope of the roof. My father also commented that he felt like the back seat's angle was too upright, though I must admit I didn't have a big issue with it. There was no serious problem with legroom behind the driver's seat, which was set to accommodate my 5' 9" frame, but I could see where things might get dicey for taller passengers (or folks sitting behind a taller driver).

2007 Chevy Aveo LTTwist the ignition key and the 1.6L Ecotec buzzes to life. Rated at 103 horsepower, it's perfectly adequate for grocery-getter duty, and as a highway commuter it does fine, just don't expect any kind of stirring performance whatsoever. Multiple publications that have done instrumented testing on the new Aveo rate its 0-60 times at 11 seconds and change, and based on Autoblog's sophisticated seat-of-the-pants test regimen, that sounds right. Long on-ramps are your friend, as the Aveo carries on with great clamor and fury as the 1.6 winds itself up to highway speeds with very little in terms of rapid forward motion to show for it. Once it hits that pace, however, it handles highway duty in a businesslike, unexciting manner. Don't expect much, and you'll have no problem.

2007 Chevy Aveo LT The same goes for the car's handling characteristics. It's quite responsive in local and highway driving, and speaking honestly, it's doubtful that the Aveo buyer is going to be actively exploring the car's dynamic limits. One thing our car wasn't equipped with that we'd gladly pony up the extra $400 for is ABS. It just seems like a no-brainer, and we'd happily forego things like the foglamps and leatherette seats to defray the additional cost if that's what it boiled down to.

Over the full tank we went through during its time with us, the Aveo averaged right around 25 miles per gallon. It's EPA rating is 26/34, so the 25 we observed was actually a bit disappointing. Take it with a grain of salt, of course, as it's just one tank over one week, but still: this is, above all else, an economy car, and we expected better.

2007 Chevy Aveo LTSo, in the end, how does the Aveo shape up? Among the crop of economy sedans, it's pretty good-looking, quite well-equipped for the money ($15,025 as shown, including destination), and has good trunkspace. It's no great performer, but it's still a capable everyday runabout. Perhaps the biggest knock against the Aveo is that it's simply not very memorable. For many people shopping for basic transportation, this is most likely irrelevant. For us, it matters, and so despite the positive first impressions it made, the Aveo left us feeling indifferent at the end of the week. We didn't dislike it, but we didn't miss it when it left us, either.



All photos Copyright ©2007 Alex Núñez / Weblogs, Inc.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 31 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      I just bought my 07 Aveo LT and I love it. It does what I want it to do. I am 6'1" and I fit fine it it. Don't care to drink while driving, so I could care less about the cup holders. I have a right-side arm rest. I do not have fake wood trim, I have brushed metal trim with a nice stereo. I have plenty of truck space for my needs. and it's great for my friends and I to travel in.

      I am a full time student and I can easily afford thi car and I have no complaints about it. Better than my Killed In Action REO which fell apart in a collision and the airbags didn't even activate.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Mr Morix -

      You are flat wrong. The ONLY thing Japanese manufacturers can do with US dollars is buy US goods or sell them to somebody else for yen, who will buy US goods. By definition US dollars are part of the US economy no matter where they reside. When I pay Subaru $28k for a Forester XT, what do you think they do with those US dollars? Burn them?
      • 7 Years Ago
      They make you pay extra for plastic seats?? And that orange fake wood on the dash is hideous.

      I have to say since the very beginning when GM started marketing cars like the Chevette or Vega or Citation, they have always had the strange urge to talk about how their small cars look, feel and ride like large cars. Sorry, GM but you miss the point of small cars. I never wanted a small car that rides and handles like a large car and I would never want a small car to look like a hideous Buick on the inside.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If GM takes a car built by Daewoo in Korea and then "rebadges" it as a Chevrolet, AND THEN advertises it as "AN AMERICAN REVOLUTION", AND THEN aside from the little Consumer Identification Tag some dealers prematurely remove, DON'T INFORM THEIR CUSTOMERS THEY ARE BUYING A KOREAN MADE DAEWOO AND NOT A DETROIT BUILT CHEVROLET, AND GET AWAY WITH IT, then I hope the GM corporate office is moved to Korea and buried there. I thought we were suppose to buy American!
      • 7 Years Ago
      #6, Jay,

      "It should be noted that the eyeglass holder is flimsy-feeling (a small hinge is all that connects it to the roof), causing us to wonder what its lifespan will be under the rigors of daily use."

      "The cupholders that pop out of the center stack are pathetic at best. Designed to hold shorter containers such as 12 oz. cans, they were useless for carrying the preferred travel coffee mug of your humble correspondent. Taller cups or bottles either resided at a dangerous angle, ready to fall out or spill at any moment (if they even fit in the first place). The back seat passengers get kind of shafted, too, as they're given a single cupholder at the trailing edge of the center console. That said, it's the best one in the car. "

      ... those crappy plastics. The dimpled texture on the dash sounds nice, but it seems like the parts of the car that you're actually going to be touching on a daily basis don't have a quality feel to them.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Really you have to look at build cost vs. gas prices. To put a more economic engine into the car designed for better gas mph may have cost 1-2 million extra to tool up a plant to increase production. Using a different transmission may have required retooling a line. Those are the types of costs that we aren't able to compare. It may have added several thousand dollars to the car to retool and create a better mpg car.

      We arn't able to understand why, but instead just have a final products and must evaluate it on the merits. You never know, going from a one star crash test to a three star may have cost 400 pounds in weight.
      • 7 Years Ago
      HELP! My 2007 Aveo is getting 17 - 21 mpg!!!! Chevy/GM won't do a thing to help me because they said their computer didn't scan anything wrong, although they admit that there is something amiss.
      Have you heard of such bad mileage? What can I do short of getting an attorney. I have all my gas receipts and have filed a complaint with GM who sent me back to the dealerhip, who sent me back to GM.
        john j
        • 2 Years Ago
        That would be normal gas MPG if you are using flex fuel
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is still, without question, the worst economy car on the market. Until Dodge starts selling those rebadged Chery's.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It certainly looks better than previously. Plus it gives the Hyundai Accent and the Kia Rio a run for their money. In a day and age where gas prices are rapidly approaching $3.00 dollars a gallon,cars like this one are certainly appreciated. Not bad for basic transportation needs.Definately a worthy replacement for the Chevy/Geo Metro.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Where exactly did you see crappy interior plastics, s0crates82 in this write-up?
      • 7 Years Ago
      MrMorix,

      In your research I hope that you discovered that all of those "foreign" car manufactures Americans are buying cars from are in fact incorporated right here in the US. Does it really make that much of a difference who the shareholders are since in a global economy a publicly traded stock can be purchased by, you guessed it, the public regardless of nationality.

      The state and local governments don't charge them taxes it is not because the "foreign" it is because they are trying to spark the local economy. That is just good policy.

      I can assure you that as American corporations they are not off the hook for Federal Taxes.
      • 7 Years Ago
      just saw these at the Atl Auto Show. All comments were that this was a far better buy than the Accent, Rio, Suzuki ?Reno?. Better presentation,much cleaner interior. Better than Fit, Yaris, or Versa. probably not, but you can probably get into one for a bit less and at this price point, a $1500 is $25-30/month or 10% of price. not necessarily inconsiderable amount in this range.
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