2004 Aveo New Car Test Drive
The Chevrolet Aveo is an all-new subcompact available as a four-door sedan or five-door hatchback. It's based on a globally popular model called the Kalos built by Korean carmaker Daewoo. New to Chevrolet's 2004 lineup, the Aveo will complement the upcoming Chevy Cobalt, a premium small car planned to replace the Cavalier.
Aveo uses a proven GM 1.6-liter double-overhead-camshaft engine and comes standard with a five-speed gearbox. It's out to challenge the Toyota Echo, Scion xA, Kia Rio, and Hyundai Accent. The Echo and Scion are higher priced, however, leaving the ten-grand cars to the Koreans.
The basic models are basic, but the interiors are better than you'd expect, the front seats are comfortable and the back seats are surprisingly roomy. The Aveo looks good, particularly the sedan, and the body panels fit well. It delivers zippy performance, sharp steering and a decent ride. All of this makes the Chevy Aveo an attractive alternative to a used car.
The Chevy Aveo comes in four-door and five-door hatchback body styles, priced the same. It's available in three trim levels: Special Value, Base and LS. They all use the 103-horsepower inline-4 engine with a standard five-speed gearbox.
Least expensive is the Special Value model ($9,455), which comes standard with single-stage airbags, halogen headlamps, ventilated front disc brakes, child safety seat system, folding sideview mirrors, tinted glass, tilt steering wheel, 60/40 split folding rear seat, AM/FM stereo, two-speed intermittent variable wipers, rear window defogger and, on the five-door, a wiper/washer on the liftgate window. There are no options.
The base model ($11,150) adds air conditioning with cabin filtration, carpeted floor mats, and a few other convenience features, but you still get windup windows. With the LS ($12,045) you get convenience: power locks and windows and remote entry, heated outside mirrors with power on the passenger side, upgraded seat fabric, and a CD player with MP3 playback. Fog lights are standard on the five-door base and LS models.
Aveo comes in eight lively colors, including yellow and bright blue. Options include a four-speed automatic transmission ($850) and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution ($400). A stereo with CD and MP3 players is available for base models ($300) and late-2004 LS models offer a six-speaker premium sound system and power sunroof. Appearance packages include fog lights, alloy wheels, and a spoiler for the five-door.
The body structure is designed to provide as much crash protection to occupants as possible. The cabin is built like a steel cage, with steel members running vertically from the door hinge up the A pillars to the roofline, then back to reinforced B- and C-pillars, and down to the rocker panels. Each of the four doors contains a side-impact beam which when hit directs energy up through the side rails to a large front longitudinal member, then through a flat crossmember to the front axle and wheelhouse and finally down to the fender-door support.