2009 Aveo New Car Test Drive
The Chevrolet Aveo is GM's smallest, least expensive car. Aside from its price, what's most attractive about the Chevy Aveo is its surprisingly handsome interior, at least on the up-level 2LT. Its 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine is rated at 106 horsepower, which we found adequate. 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.
The 2009 Aveo gets a new, more efficient engine. The Aveo5 hatchback gets extensive revisions for 2009, with new exterior styling and a revised interior. The Aveo sedan received these updates for 2007. Their basic architecture and mechanical underpinnings date to 2004.
Aveo is a subcompact that competes with the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, and Hyundai Accent. Aveo was designed to offer sensible, day-to-day transportation. Its ride is tuned more for comfort than sporty driving. Comfort is important when commuting through heavy, stop-and-go traffic and the Aveo won't spill your coffee on the way to work.
The Aveo gets the third generation of GM's 1.6-liter Ecotec engine for 2009. The addition of variable valve timing increases horsepower by 3 to 106 and helps improve fuel economy. Aveo is EPA-estimated to deliver 27/34 mpg City/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 costs less and it's unlikely you can make up the price difference in fuel economy.
We found the Aveo an enjoyable car to spend time with, particularly the Aveo 2LT with its nice upholstery, cloth or leatherette. The climate and audio controls are easy to use, the driver's seat adjusts for height, and the car drives well. Some of the other cars in this class offer more power, sharper handling, and a quieter ride, but we never felt like we were missing out on something when we were in this car. We prefer the Aveo5 five-door hatchback for its ability to haul stuff.
For 2009, in addition to the changes to the engine and exterior and interior of the Aveo5, the Aveo gets a revised lineup mix, and several new and revised features. OnStar assistance and an auxiliary input jack are now standard, XM satellite radio is available, and the radio controls are changed. The driver information center adds an outside temperature display and a fuel economy/driving range function. New Charcoal leatherette seating is offered and it is available with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
The 2009 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 106 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 option at this level is a prep package for air conditioning ($50).
Aveo 1LT and Aveo5 1LT ($14,100) add air conditioning, an interior air filter, a CD/MP3 player and floormats. The Aveo 2LT and Aveo5 2LT 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.
Options include an automatic transmission ($925); a six-speaker stereo with CD/MP3 player ($325); steering-wheel audio controls ($75): cruise control ($250); fog lights ($110); a package consisting of cruise control, power door locks with remote keyless entry, and a security system ($425); a rear spoiler ($225); 15-inch aluminum wheels ($475); a power tilt-and-slide sunroof ($725); XM satellite radio, vinyl upholstery ($375); and alloy wheels ($450).
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.