Monday, November 05, 2007

2007 Chevrolet Aveo Review





Introduction
With gas prices holding steady at elevated levels, Americans have slowly been losing their appetite for gas-guzzling SUVs. Compact cars like the 2007 Chevrolet Aveo, meanwhile, have seen a surge in interest because of their affordability and their ability to deliver fuel economy in the 30-mpg range.

The Aveo is built in Korea by General Motors' Korean subsidiary, Daewoo. In terms of size, it's shorter in length but taller than Chevy's next biggest automotive offering, the Cobalt. This tall profile can come across as rather dorky-looking when viewed from the outside, but it certainly pays dividends in terms of interior passenger room. The Aveo also benefits from a QVC-like sticker price and generous collection of features. Fuel-economy ratings on the Chevy Aveo are fairly high as well, though its real-world numbers tend to be considerably lower, especially on manual-transmission models, which have overly wide gearing. The 2007 model looks to be the best Aveo yet thanks to an updated sedan that has all-new styling and improved interior design.

The Chevrolet Aveo is a worthy vehicle, but it's also going up against some new competition this year, including the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa and Toyota Yaris, which offer more features and better economy. At the same time, entry-level models from Kia and Hyundai continue to offer longer warranties. Consumers interested in this type of vehicle will certainly want to do some research and test-drives before making a decision.


Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Chevrolet Aveo is available as a subcompact sedan or four-door hatchback (Aveo5). On the Aveo5, there are two trim levels: Special Value and LS. Aveo sedans come in LS and LT trims. Special Value equates to not paying a lot but not getting a lot, either. Standard equipment includes 14-inch steel wheels, manual mirrors and windows, manual locks and a radio with four speakers. The LS adds air-conditioning and carpeted floor mats, as well as the availability of major options such as cruise control, a sunroof, power windows, keyless entry, CD/MP3 player and 15-inch alloy wheels. The Aveo LS sedan is similarly equipped. A top-line LT sedan comes standard with almost all of the LS model's optional features, while offering upgraded cloth seat fabric and the availability of options like leatherette upholstery and upgraded audio with an in-dash CD changer and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.


Powertrains and Performance
The Chevy Aveo has a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 103 horsepower and 107 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and there's also an optional four-speed automatic with an electronic "hold" feature for 2nd-gear starts when driving on slippery surfaces. Fuel mileage estimates are 27 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway with the manual gearbox and 26/34 with the automatic -- close to the Hyundai Accent's numbers but less efficient than either the Honda Fit or Toyota Yaris.

Safety
Three-point seatbelts for all five passengers are standard, with pre-tensioners in the front. Antilock brakes are optional on LS and LT models, and include electronic brakeforce distribution for shorter stopping distances. Side airbags are standard on all styles. In NHTSA crash tests, the Aveo earned a five-star rating (the best possible) for its protection of front occupants in frontal impacts and four stars for occupants in side impacts.

Interior Design and Special Features
The updated 2007 Chevy Aveo sedan benefits from a new interior design that features wood grain or metallic trim, a driver's armrest and additional storage capability. It builds on the Aveo's already easy-to-use controls and thoughtful convenience features. The hatchback has a folding 60/40-split rear seat that allows the vehicle to carry up to 42 cubic feet of cargo. The sedan's trunk has 12.4 cubic feet of volume, and longer items can be transported by fully reclining the front passenger seat and folding the rear seat.

Driving Impressions
Subcompact cars have a well-deserved reputation for poor handling and wobbly rides. While the Chevrolet Aveo is certainly no thrill ride, it provides respectable vehicle dynamics. The steering is direct, the suspension well tuned and the engine -- while loud and buzzy -- is adequate for day-to-day commuting. We normally recommend that buyers in this class opt for a manual transmission, but in the Aveo's case, the automatic is the better bet: The manual tranny's gear ratios are too wide, leaving the car underpowered on highway grades and ultimately compromising fuel economy.

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