2011 Aveo New Car Test Drive
The Chevrolet Aveo is GM's smallest, least expensive car. Aside from its price, what's most attractive about Aveo is its surprisingly handsome interior, at least on the up-level Aveo 2LT. The 2010 Chevrolet Aveo comes with an updated 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 108 horsepower, which is adequate for such an affordable car. Transmission choices are either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic.
Aveo is available as a four-door sedan or a versatile five-door hatchback called the Aveo5. We prefer the Aveo5 five-door hatchback for its ability to haul stuff.
The Aveo sedan was extensively updated for 2007 and the hatchback received the same treatment for 2009. The changes were made so the Aveo could better compete with a wave of new subcompacts, namely the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, and Hyundai Accent. The Aveo's basic architecture and mechanical underpinnings date to 2004.
Aveo was designed to offer sensible, day-to-day transportation. Its ride is tuned more for comfort than sporty driving, and this is where it differs from the frisky Honda Fit. But many of us spend much of our time commuting through heavy, stop-and-go traffic and don't expect an economy car to deliver nimble handling.
The Aveo features the third generation of GM's 1.6-liter Ecotec engine, which gains two horsepower for 2010 for a total of 108 hp. With the manual transmission, Aveo is EPA-estimated to deliver 27 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway. That compares well with the Hyundai Accent (26/35 mpg) and Nissan Versa (27/33). The Honda Fit (28/35) and Toyota Yaris (29/36) are more efficient, but the Aveo competes with a lower purchase price.
We found the Aveo an enjoyable car to spend time with, particularly the Aveo 2LT with its nice cloth or leatherette upholstery. The climate and audio controls are easy to use, the driver's seat adjusts for height, and the car drives well. The negatives include a lack of power, somewhat sloppy handling and a sometimes loud interior.
Other minor changes for 2010 include a standard rear spoiler on the Aveo5 2LT and lower numeric fourth and fifth gear ratios for the manual transmission to improve highway fuel economy.
The 2010 Chevrolet Aveo is available as a four-door Aveo sedan or as the Aveo5 five-door hatchback. All are powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine rated 108 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, a four-speed automatic is optional. All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP).
Aveo LS and Aveo5 LS ($11,965) come with cloth seats; power steering; tilt steering wheel; four-speaker AM/FM stereo with an auxiliary input jack; a height-adjustable driver's seat with adjustable lumbar support; 60/40 split folding rear seat; one year of OnStar's Safe & Sound plan, and 185/60R14 tires on steel wheels with wheel covers. The Aveo5 also gets a rear cargo cover and a rear wiper. Air conditioning is not included, although it can be installed by the dealer. Automatic transmission is not available, nor are power windows, locks, or mirrors. In fact the only factory options at this level are a prep package for air conditioning ($50) and an engine block heater ($75).
Aveo 1LT and Aveo5 1LT ($14,100) add air conditioning, a CD/MP3 player and floormats. The Aveo 2LT and Aveo5 2LT ($15,365) add upgraded cloth upholstery, cruise control, heated power mirrors, power windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry, XM satellite radio, steering wheel audio controls, a driver information center, fog lights, an alarm, and 185/55R15 tires. The Aveo5 2LT also gets a rear spoiler.
Options for LT models include automatic transmission ($925), cruise control ($250), power tilt-and-slide sunroof ($725), vinyl upholstery ($375), rear spoiler ($225), XM satellite radio ($200), and 15-inch aluminum wheels ($450). Also available are bodyside moldings ($150 sedan, $175 hatchback), and chrome door handles ($250) and chrome side mirrors ($95) for the sedan.
Safety features include dual-stage front air bags, seat-mounted front side air bags, front-seat seat-belt pretensioners, and a tire-pressure monitor. Anti-lock brakes ($440) are optional for LT models; we strongly recommend getting them because they can help the driver maintain control in an emergency braking situation.