Detroit Free Press columnist Mark Phelan gives Chevy's new Aveo compact econocar a thorough going over and finds it to be a spacious, stylish ride for not a lot of peanuts. The tiny hatch is essentially a Daewoo that has been prettied-up by ItalDesign, the same firm responsible for the sharp looks of Maserati and the Volkswagen Golf. While the base Aveo is available at an attractive sub-$10K price point, Phelan drives the nicely-sorted LS model that runs $12,670, including ABS, a decent stereo with a CD player and some rear spoiler action out back. The large-feeling interior is composed of nondescript materials designed to keep costs down, but the right details are there, like an excellent seating position and rear seats that split and fold for extra utility. The engine is uninspiring at 103-hp, but it gets the job done and is aided by the Aveo's low curb weight. Phelan's bottom line is that the Aveo is a don't let-the-tiny-looks-fool-you car— an endearing form of transportation that also keeps the budget intact.

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