By KBB.com Editors
Chevrolet brings its re-designed entry-level, economy subcompact four-door Aveo into dealerships as a slew of other fuel-efficient small sedans race into showrooms to beat the continuing gas crunch. Appealing to its target buyers by matching marketing strategies with webcasts for the digital generation, the affordable Aveo model line is aimed at first-time buyers, young singles, small families and train-station commuters.
If you're looking for budget-conscious, basic transportation that doesn't pretend to be something it isn't, you'll like the Aveo LT. Practical, utilitarian and with no complicated high-tech systems to learn, the little sedan is also a good choice for RVers looking for a haul-behind car. Another plus: The high seating position for driver and passenger.
You may not like the LT if you expect instant response from the automatic transmission. You may also find that child carseats are the best bet for occupying the back seat. With the front seats all the way back, there is very minimal legroom for rear-seat passengers.
Barely two-and-a-half years after its 2004 debut, the Aveo has undergone a complete exterior makeover, while the interior is not only wider, taller and longer, but also fully equipped with a few standard and optional features not found on competitive cars in its price range, such as the Kia Rio, Scion xA, Hyundai Accent, Suzuki Aerio, Honda Fit and Nissan Yaris.
Driving Impressions Driving a car as uncomplicated as the Aveo LT releases you from constantly checking the myriad of messages on lavish instrument panels in pricier cars. With an eye occasionally on...the speedometer, the driver is free to enjoy the surprising capabilities of the Aveo LT's zippy little 103-horsepower engine once you reach your preferred cruising pace. There is no available stability-control system, although anti-lock brakes (ABS) are an option. A slight lean is noticeable on corners taken at speed but the overall driving experience is precise and pleasant, with the car holding the line during straight, hard braking. As to be expected from this category of car, some tire, wind and engine noise is par for the course.
With an eye on youthful buyers who enjoy music 24/7, the Aveo LT has an auxiliary input jack for iPods and other music players and electronic devices. The sound is carried through the car radio and six speakers with exceptional quality.
Saving on gas bills is high on everyone's list and Aveo buyers are obviously looking for this benefit. The LT's automatic transmission rewards you with 26 mpg city and 34 mpg highway, depending on road conditions and driving style.
Small touches of metallic grain and satin chrome trim give an upscale look to the interior. Front seats with tilt headrests, storage pockets in doors and seatbacks, a sunglass holder and six-way adjustable driver's seat are features you'd expect in a higher-priced car. The dashboard is a masterpiece of simplicity, clearly showing all the information the driver needs to get from point A to point B. The front passenger seat reclines and, with a trunk capacity of 12.4 cubic feet and rear 60/40-split seats that fold almost flat, there's plenty of room for the longest skis.Exterior
For what it is, a full-featured economy subcompact built by General Motors Daewoo in Korea, the Aveo LT is a competently-designed four-door whose sheetmetal blends smoothly together to present a neat package. The V-shaped hood and strong grille reveal its Chevrolet heritage and emphasize its wide stance. Large "shoulders" over the wheels, oversized front and rear lights and a height of almost five feet gives it the appearance of a larger sedan.
Despite its low-end status, the Aveo LT houses a surprising amount of useful equipment found on more expensive cars, including remote keyless entry with alarm, cruise control, air conditioning with rear vents, side airbags and power heated sideview mirrors. The remote trunk release saves time fumbling with keys and the rear window defogger, tilt steering column and headrests are unexpected extra conveniences. Music lovers will appreciate the LT's standard CD/MP3 player and 180-watt six-speaker system. Power windows and door locks lift this model above many of its manual-handle, similarly-priced competitors.
Chevrolet's Hold-Control four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive uses adaptive-shift technology. It helps to reduce wheel spin and loss of traction by allowing the driver to manually select a different gear so that torque to the wheels is reduced, much as with a true manual transmission. Like audio controls at your fingertips? The LT installs them at thumb level on the steering wheel. Other options include a sunroof, leatherette seats, fog lamps, a rear spoiler, an engine block heater and an anti-theft system.
General Motors' 16-valve four-cylinder engine powers the Aveo LT, producing 103 horsepower. An electronic throttle control and variable induction system help maximize power across the rpm range for consistency and fuel economy, and the four-speed automatic transmission's Hold Control mode provides a pseudo-manual operation the driver can select for sportier or more controlled driving. The re-tuned 2007 suspension helps with handling.
1.6-liter in-line 4
103 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
107 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/37 (manual), 26/34 (automatic)
By Babe on Tuesday, March 31, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "price, fun and easy access to pkg w/hatchback"
Cons: "low profile tires/rougher ride"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I love the idea of a hatchback and would not think of going to another vehicle without it. My little car can get into small places, has a wheel base that allows 'u-turns' if needed. The only thing that I do not like is the low profile tires. They are more expensive and are not a smooth ride. I really hate it that my car is already 9 years old and I hate the thought of ever having to part with it."
By Joe dokes on Saturday, March 14, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Responsive, stable handling, cost $10K new"
Cons: "low ground clearance"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Multiple front wheel bearing replacements needed. Small electrical problems (flashing clock light when headlights on and it's damp; occasional other electrical anomalies, but nothing unduly serious). Small car, so scraping ground clearance for Vermont's "mud season", but lots of room to haul stuff if the back seats are folded down. Seems very stable in handling. Wide stance. Needs new tie-rod end at 100K miles. Leaking front MacPherson strut. Milage never better than 38 in summer with a light foot, highway driving, but roof rack likely why. ~ 27 mpg in winter in cold, with resisting studded snows, lots of friction, cold weather idling."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Spunkey on Tuesday, February 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good price and good gas mileage."
Cons: "It needs a sixith gear."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Fun to drive and has lots of room for a small car. I am six feet two inches tall and 240lbs. and have lots of leg room and butt room. Bought the car brand new and have been pleased with it so far. I did have to change the stock tires out after 25,000 miles due to bad ride and fast wear."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By AJ on Monday, February 09, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 69,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Cons: "the car is not reliable at all"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I have sunk so much money into this car. It was ok when I first got it. After a few months the timing belt snapped and pretty much wrecked my engine. I payed to get it fixed. Now it has electrical issues, the transmission is going out, and the alignment is out of whack. I hardly drive, considering the car only had 38000 miles on it when I first got it. I have had it for 5 years and now it has 69000 miles on it. I also keep up matinence on it and no matter what I do everything continues to fail on it. Do not buy this car. It may be cheap but it's a money pit."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Cammi on Friday, January 30, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks cute"
Cons: "No center console, bad suspension, rock hard seats"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"Definitely should of spent more time with this car before buying it. The seats are almost hard as rocks, suspension feels like my moms 1998 Camaro, stiff and you feel each and every bump. Radio is tinny and sounds very bad. Never did listen to radio on test drive. Having traded in a 1999 Cavalier which was starting to have many mechanical problems I was focused on mechanics rather than how the car would feel and drive on a daily basis which now is a big problem to me. The shifter is too low for my liking and there's no center console. Should of rejected this car and went onto something else. It's my fault for getting it and now I will have to live with it for a long time and not really enjoy it. I'm just going to use this as a way to build credit and get rid of it as soon as its feasible."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Anita on Saturday, January 24, 2015
I don't own this caroverall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "good on gas, small size can squeeze in tight spots"
Cons: "not powerful for highways or going uphill"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I purchased my Aveo Hatchback in March 2011, with already 174000km on the odometer for $4200. I was hoping it would last me at least 4 years, or an average of $1000/year of use. The timing belt broke exactly 3 years 10 months later(last week) and the mechanics estimated it was not worth fixing it, as repairing or replacing the engine would be too expensive ($2800). I must admit the first 2 years were good; the last two costed about $1500 worth of repairs. Had the car scrapped today."
7 people out of 8 found this review helpful