• Jan 24, 2008
As you may or may not have known, a rebadged version of the Chevy Aveo sedan has been offered to Canadian car shoppers in the form of the Pontiac Wave, and with the arrival of the facelifted Aveo5 comes a new Wave5 for Canada. We exhanged emails on the matter with the gang at CanadianDriver, and they explained that it has everything to do with the GM dealer setups in Canada. For the most part, there are Chevy/Cadillac stores and Pontiac/Buick/GMC outlets. Small cars are critical to sales volumes, so if Chevy dealers get one, the Buick/Pontiac/GMC guys want one. This is how the Pontiac Pursuit (a.k.a. G5) came to be, and is also why the Wave exists.

Getting back to the topic at hand, what you see here is pretty self-explanatory. It's the new Aveo5 with a Poncho twin-grille schnoz. Unlike the Pontiac G5, this won't be coming across our northern border. If you want one, you have to settle for the giant-grilled Chevy. For more on the Wave5, click on the image above to read CanadianDriver.com's coverage from the Montreal Auto Show. GM's press release is also pasted after the jump.

[Sources: GM Canada, CanadianDriver; Photo: CanadianDriver]


  • Redesigned, sporty exterior with contemporary details
  • Updated, roomy "tall car" interior with the cargo flexibility of a hatchback - including up to 1,189 L (42 cu.-ft.) of cargo space
  • New, fuel-efficient Ecotec 1.6L DOHC engine with variable valve timing
  • Standard side air bags and dual-stage frontal air bags with Passenger Sensing System
  • Unexpected technologies, including standard OnStar and available XM Satellite Radio
  • Five-year / 160,000-kilomtre powertrain warranty
MONTREAL, Quebec (January 17, 2008) - Coming this summer, the efficient, made-for-Canada Pontiac Wave5 also gets an injection of style and technology for the 2009 model. This small car now offers a new design inside and out, and gets a new, more refined engine with variable valve timing and improved fuel economy, and is sure to be a hit with Canadians when it goes on sale in 2008.

The new '09 Wave5 continues to stir the waters in Canada's small-car market with features expected in larger, more expensive cars - such as standard OnStar and available XM Satellite Radio - as well as its signature "tall car" design that enables surprising passenger and cargo room. It is powered by a new, fuel-sipping, 1.6L DOHC engine with variable valve timing that produces more power (107 hp / 80 kW) and strong torque (106-lb.-ft. / 143 Nm) - and has been tuned for quieter performance.

Indeed, the Wave5's efficiency and flexibility go hand in hand. With its improved fuel economy among the best on the market using regular gasoline, the '09 Wave5 can travel more than 640 km between fill-ups, resulting in fewer trips to the gas station and road trips that require fewer stops.

The Wave5 goes on sale in mid-2008, joining the recently redesigned Wave sedan. It is available in base and SE trims - each backed by a "worry free" five-year/160,000 km transferable powertrain warranty, plus Roadside Assistance and Courtesy Transportation.

Bold, sporty, modern exterior design

The Wave5's dynamic, contemporary European influenced design enhances the Wave5's sporty exterior with premium details such as the three-dimensional, richly detailed headlamps that extend into the hood. Redesigned, body-colour fascias and chrome accents suggest a more expensive car, along with available features - such as its large power sunroof - that are unexpected in the segment, Wave5 retains its characteristic "tall car" configuration, enabling a spacious interior, with generous headroom that is greater than many midsize sedans.

The Wave5's sleek styling accents longer, wider and taller dimensions, with sculpted lines and a wide, confident stance. Pronounced "shoulders" over the wheel openings and body-colour door sills convey the look of a larger car. A more assertive, dynamic look is accomplished with crisp, V-shaped hood edges, bold front and rear fascias with premium cues, such as larger, available front fog lamps; a rear-fascia lower grille; and a larger available rear spoiler located on the trailing edge of the roof.

Roomy environment

The Wave5's exterior is complemented by a quiet passenger cabin that features well-crafted details and generous standard features that enhance comfort. It is one of the most spacious vehicles in its class, with features and refinement comparable to more expensive vehicles.

With its signature "tall car" design, the Wave5's generous dimensions easily accommodate 6-foot-tall passengers in each of the five seating positions. It also is a quiet interior environment, with soundproofing technologies that complement quieting powertrain enhancements and improved aerodynamics to provide a quiet, comfortable and vibration-free ride, even at higher speed.

Attention to comfort is evidenced in elements such as standard driver's seat armrests. Also, theatre-style rear seating provides a commanding view for all passengers. A 60/40-split rear seat expands Wave5's interior cargo capacity; and when more cargo-carrying capability is required, the rear seat can be flipped and folded, offering 1,189 L (42 cu. ft.) of cargo space.

Refined modern interior with a twist

The interior's contemporary appearance is achieved through sleek lines and the clever use of rich materials, including a new, available two-tone, charcoal/light gray design (on charcoal interiors) that provides a premium look and feel. Other premium appearance elements include technical-grain, low-gloss surfaces; wood grain, satin-chrome or carbon-fiber finishes on the instrument panel and door panels; and even perforated faux leather seating surfaces, steering wheel cover and shifter knob.

Additionally, clever details abound, such as a sunglasses holder; door pockets for books and maps; and hooks that can secure shopping bags. Unexpected value is delivered through more standard and available features - features not typically found in the segment, including:

  • Fully reclining front seats with convenience hooks
  • Six-way-adjustable seats - plus driver lumbar adjustment
  • Tilting steering wheel
  • Driver information centre
  • Oil Life Monitoring System
  • Cruise control
  • Power windows and locks
  • Heated, dual power body-colour foldaway outside mirrors
  • On-key (no separate fob) remote keyless entry
  • Air conditioning with cabin filtration
  • Large, power-operated sunroof
Audio systems

Wave5 models offer a standard AM/FM, four-speaker radio system, 36 presets and an auxiliary input jack for MP3 devices. An AM/FM radio with CD/MP3 capability (including an auxiliary input jack) and six-speaker sound system is standard on the SE and available on base model.

All Wave5 radios are derived from GM's new family of premium radio systems, which are distinguished by upscale appearance, simplicity of operation and range of features and capabilities. Steering wheel audio controls are standard on SE models

XM Satellite Radio - a popular choice among youthful customers - is standard on SE models and available on base models. It offers more than 100 channels of music, news, sports and entertainment. XM Satellite Radio must be activated and a subscription fee applies.

Authentic Pontiac driving experience - beyond your average subcompact

The 2009 Wave5 engineered and developed for a dynamic, well-planted driving experience and fuel efficiency, but was tuned to suit the ride and handling expectations of Pontiac customers. It has a wide stance and long wheelbase (2,480 mm / 97.7 inches) to deliver a smooth, confident ride. A MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam rear suspension (with gas-charged shocks) deliver refined ride and handling characteristics.

Power-assisted, variable-rate rack-and-pinion steering is standard, with the steering gear is mounted on the front suspension cross member for precise action and stability. Fourteen-inch wheels are standard, but sporty 15-inch alloy wheels are available.

The Wave5 was tested and validated for a broad range of Canadian driving and road conditions. The suspension system is inspired by the driving experiences of European sports sedans yet tuned for contemporary American driving tastes - a combination that delivers both smoothness and a responsive, spirited driving experience.


Supporting Wave5's responsive and economical driving experience is a new, Ecotec 1.6L DOHC four-cylinder powertrain. The sophisticated engine uses Dual Continuous Variable Cam Phasing - two continuously adjustable camshafts - to optimize the charge cycle for fuel economy and performance. As a result, this 16-valve DOHC engine delivers more horsepower than the previous engine, with ratings of 107 horsepower (80 kw)* and 106 lb.-ft. of torque (143 Nm)*, and nearly 8-percent improved fuel efficiency when compared to the previous Wave5 model.

The new, 1.6L engine features additional technology highlights to improve fuel economy, quality, reliability and durability, including:

  • New four-in-one sheet metal exhaust manifold, with integrated catalytic converter and secondary underfloor catalytic converter
  • Engine oil cooler and piston oil squirters
  • New GM-corporate engine control system
  • Electronically controlled thermostat
  • Oil Life Monitoring System
Additionally, the engine is tuned for quieter performance, with a more pleasing sound during acceleration.

A smooth-shifting five-speed manual transmission is standard and an Aisin four-speed automatic with Hold Control Mode is available. Hold Control Mode is a special feature that helps reduce wheel spin and traction loss on slick roads by allowing the driver to select and hold a higher gear, thus reducing torque.

Safety features

The Wave5 offers additional features and options for safety-minded consumers. The Wave5's safety starts with a high-strength steel structure that creates a safety cage around the passenger compartment. The structure features strength-enhancing, tailor-welded blanks that help avoid protrusions into the passenger compartment.

The Wave5 also comes standard with advanced dual-stage frontal air bags and the GM Passenger Sensing System, as well as standard head/thorax seat-mounted side air bags for front passengers. The head/thorax seat-mounted side air bags deploy during side impacts and are triggered by a sophisticated sensor system in the front doors.

Exceptional braking is provided by ventilated front discs and self-adjusting rear drums. The brake system on the Wave5 is available with a four-channel ABS system. The four-sensor system - one at each wheel - incorporates electronic brake force distribution, which balances braking performance based on road conditions the weight of passengers and/or cargo.

Additional Wave5 safety features include:

* Front safety belt pretensioners
* Energy-absorbing steering column
* Knee bolsters
* Height-adjustable shoulder belt anchors
* Lower Anchors and Top Tether for Children (LATCH) for rear seats
* Rear child safety door locks
* Tire pressure monitoring system

All Wave5 models come standard with OnStar Gen 7, which features advanced automatic crash notification, remote diagnostics and a monthly status report. OnStar provides the responsiveness of a trained operator to assist you at the touch of a button. From security features of operator directions, remote diagnostics, lockout service, roadside assistance to emergency response, OnStar offers the assistance you need when you need it. Wave5 (and Wave sedan) is the only car in its class with this safety and convenience feature.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      This looks less offensive than the bowtie stuck to the Aveo. Then again, it has a bit of a smiley Jack-o-lantern face.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This grill treatment is FAR SUPERIOR to the wacko mis-interpretation of the Audi grill on the Aveo. Even the new Malibu's nose is better looking. What were they thinking?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Cars like this should reveal to Mazda that their 2 would be a giant hit, cuz small car buyers right now are stuck with Yaris' and Aveos: nothing for enthusiasts who want a bit of fun on their commute.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'm an enthusiast and I drive one. I wanted something reliable and affordable, not to mention nicely equipped.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I remember going to Montreal for the first time in the late 80s and seeing Ladas on the street.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hopefully the new one improves the utter cheapness of the first Aveos. My friend drives a first iteration 5DR and it epitomizes all that is cheap in small cars AND it gets only about 30MPG on the highway. That's rather sad considering how underpowered and small it is.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Provide a product only in Canada that the US desparately needs in this market environment.
      Would Waggoner & Lutz like me to return to act as a Consultant with a degree in common sense?

      Friggin Idiots
        • 7 Years Ago
        I can not believe I actually agree with AZMike on something.

        My world is rocked.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @AZ Mike

        That is one thing I didn't like about the Aveo - the fuel economy. It was actually worse than my '01 Neon, and its a bigger/heavier car. Still not bad, but no where as competitive compared to Yaris' and Fits

        Is the 1.6 in it a GM engine? Or Suzuki/Daewoo? Could the 2.2 ecotec (maybe a 1.8 version) be stuffed in and detuned for better power over the 1.6, but much better economy? Wishful thinking perhaps.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Not bad looking for a sub-compact. Much better in appearance than the Yaris. I doubt its considered an EcoTec engine. As mentioned it is an E-Tec and just another misprint from auto writers. 8% better fuel mileage is ok, but there should be a smaller more econical engine available as well for people who drive normally and are like gas sipping cars.
      • 7 Years Ago
      As stated above, the way the dealer network is setup is why we'll get a re-badged car now and then. The other thing is that we're more likely to buy a hatchback/wagon's and smaller vehicles in general than American's are. We have cars like the Acura CSX (previously 1.6EL) which is a really fancy Civic. We also had the Nissan X-Trail which was a small SUV about the size of a Ford Escape.

      This badge engineering works well with a company like GM because they have, what.. 8 different brands?

      Chrysler of Canada stopped making Dodge cars from 1997 to 2003 (When the SX 2.0, the Canadian version of the Dodge Neon was relaunched) with the exception of the Viper, because of the excessive overlap.

      With only 5 brands, one of which was just SUVS (Jeep), one was 'import fighter' (Eagle) and the other three (Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth - dead in 1999/2000 for everything except the Prowler and Voyager) were all the same.

      Walking onto one lot with and seeing a Dodge, Chrysler & Plymouth Neon's, or Chrysler Concord (which was an exact copy of the Intrepid until 1997), Dodge Intrepid, (rebadged chrysler in 96) and Eagle Vision (gone in... 97 i think, the 300M was supposed to be an Eagle but got a nose job at the last minute because the brand was being killed).

      In GM's case, because of the way the network is split up, you will rarely see the same car on the lot under two different brands.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The local dealer I do a lot of publicity for (they have great service, I can't deny it) is a licensed Oldsmobile/Chevrolet/GMC/Pontiac/Buick dealer.

        Prior to a merge with another local dealer it was a Geo/Olds/Chevy dealer.

        So yeah, you see badge engineering on the lots, and plenty of it because they mainly sell econoboxes and pickups.

        (I pointed Oldsmobile because they have it on most of their signs, even though the dealership got rebuilt last year).
      • 7 Years Ago
      Dear AlexP:

      Calm yourself, man. No need for name-calling. I'm not talking about engines. I'm talking about body styles. Simple question-why doesn't GM simplify their process and build all "global" cars the same, domestic engine requirements aside? Got it, dude?
      • 7 Years Ago
      I still don't understand how the Chevy version ended up looking like someone had a few drinks and started playing with the Malibu's face in Photoshop.
      • 7 Years Ago
      We’ll know that CAFÉ has come home to roost when the next variation on the Aveo arrives is Buick showrooms, complete with whitewalls, wire wheel covers, and an oval Buick grille :-) Skylark, anyone?
      • 7 Years Ago
      The Pontiac nose makes this car look like a smaller Vibe. It looks better than the Aveo. Maybe Pontiac should get a GT type model of this car for America.
        • 7 Years Ago
        yes, we should because EVERYONE, especially on this blog, has been lauding the benefits of badge engineering.

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