Chevrolet has debuted its Orlando people mover here at the Paris Motor Show, and while we were originally a bit nonplussed at being promised the car in the U.S. only to have General Motors later recant, we're no longer upset at its absence. Inexpensive and frumpy smallish MPVs still manage to find an audience in many European markets, but having fiddled with the Orlando today, we suspect that it probably wouldn't have fared that well Stateside.
Our first impression is that the Orlando is rather Dodge Journey-esque, albeit a bit smaller (it's Cruze-based, but bigger than it looks). Still, it shares the Dodge's seven-seat configuration and value-oriented bent, though it makes use of a range of smaller, Euro-friendly powerplants, including a 141-horsepower 1.8-liter gasoline four-cylinder and a pair of diesel fours offering 131 hp or 163 hp.
The interior is basic yet functional, with a much better resolved dashboard and center stack than the aforementioned Dodge. That said, the Orlando is built to be an inexpensive offering and it very much feels that way, with a nondescript crossover-like exterior (disappointing after the much better looking concept) and a competent but character-free interior. The three-row stadium seating is a nice touch, but as with most vehicles of this size, the 'way back' will be reserved for short trips, particularly as there's almost zero space for cargo when the rearmost seats are deployed.
Orlando production is slated to begin this month, with the first deliveries slated for early next month.
Judge for yourself by perusing our gallery below and check out Chevy's official press release after the jump.
Live photos copyright ©2010 Drew Phillips / AOL
Chevrolet's new Orlando family van starring in Paris
Function with attitude: striking crossover look combined with 7-seater versatility
Chevrolet brings great value entry to compact van segment
World premiere at Paris Motor Show, start of sale in early 2011
One of four Chevrolet world premieres in Paris
Chevrolet's first entrant into the European MPV/family van segment, the Orlando, is one of the star attractions at the Mondial de l'Automobile in Paris, where the full production model makes its world debut. It is one of four Chevrolet world premieres at the show.
Based on the show car concept first seen at Paris in 2008, the Chevrolet Orlando is a true family car for the times, combining 7-seater practicality and interior flexibility with striking crossover style design.
Chevrolet's new compact MPV eschews the bland designs sometimes seen in the segment, and instead adopts a bolder look with its low roofline and crossover inspired silhouette, while retaining the distinctive and recognizable Chevrolet 'face' depicted by the split radiator grille and bow-tie badge.
The Orlando's low swept roof line is complemented by the muscular, protruding wheel-arches, housing 16, 17 or 18 inch wheels.
The new Orlando MPV has a key role to play in Chevrolet's continued product offensive in Europe, as Wayne Brannon, president and managing director for Chevrolet Europe explains. "The new Orlando MPV kicks off an ambitious seven-product launch program over the next 15 months.
"We're confident the Orlando not only brings great value for money to the MPV class but also something fresh - function with attitude if you like - and the opportunity for us to continue building our volume across Europe. I believe it will also bring more new customers to the Chevrolet brand."
While the exterior of the new Orlando is sure to draw plenty of attention, the interior too features the latest design cues from Chevrolet such as the Corvette inspired dual cockpit and ambient blue backlighting to the center console. However, it's the theatre style seating arrangement of the Orlando's three rows of seats, the generous load area and the numerous storage solutions that will also grab the attention of family motorists.
In spite of the sweeping roof-line, the designers have succeeded in raising the second and third row of seats, which means Orlando's occupants get an even better view both forwards and to the side. And with a wide variety of seating configurations possible, the Orlando can be quickly transformed into one of the most voluminous vans in the class when it comes to carrying loads.
Any hard working family car needs plenty of interior storage space for all the 'paraphernalia' that builds up. Like the Orlando concept car, the Orlando obliges with a range of compartments of different shapes and sizes situated in the center console, front and rear doors, rear cargo area and even the roof.
However, perhaps the most ingenious is a storage area hidden behind front fascia of the audio, and within easy reach of the both the driver and passenger. Seen originally on the Orlando concept car, the designers have been able to integrate a usefully large area which is revealed by flipping up the face of the audio, and large enough for such items as an MP3 player, sunglasses and wallets. Within the space itself, there is also a USB port – ideal for re-charging the MP3 or iPod when on the move.
The Orlando is based on Chevrolet's successful and award winning Cruze sedan, already proven to offer excellent ride and handling. Under the hood there will be a choice of three of Chevrolet's latest fuel efficient engines: one gasoline engine will be available, a 1.8 liter with power output of 141 hp and two diesel units, the latest version of Chevrolet's 2.0 liter engine with outputs of 131hp (low output) or 163 hp (high output).
Customers will also be able to choose from three trim levels with standard equipment on all cars including electronic stability control, six air-bags, air conditioning and power mirrors.
Full production of the Chevrolet Orlando starts in October with the car going on sale across Europe in early 2011.