Star of the show
Its levels of ride and refinement are as good as anything in the class, including small cars that are a great deal more expensive than this one.
Partly that's because under the skin, this car has a very solid, taut chassis indeed, underpinnings originally developed for the fourth generation Vauxhall Corsa but which this Chevrolet managed to get hold of first.
DESIGN AND BUILD
Chevrolet says it's a bit fed up with small cars being cute and cuddly, the intention instead with this car being to create something bolder, more striking and with a dose of attitude. Hence a set of progressive, raked bodylines, pronounced wheelarches and, most notably, the apparently motorcycle- inspired design theme that crops up all around the car. It's most obvious here at the front where the familiar bow-tie-badged split-front grille is flanked by exposed, round headlamps, twin tubes with high gloss round bezels and chromed rings that do without the usual lens cover and certainly give the front of the car some character.
It's a look carried forward to the tail lamps too, not quite as successfully, though the curved rear hatch glass and integrated spoiler look smart and neat. Lifting the tailgate reveals a 290-litre boot within spitting distance of that of a rival Fiesta in size and practically shaped, provided you can lift your luggage over the rather pronounced lip that sits proud above the rear bumper.
MARKET AND MODEL
Whichever Aveo you choose — 1.2 or 1.4-litre petrol or either of the 1.3-litre VCDi diesels — you should find your car to be reasonably equipped, though for some unknown reason, the 1.4-litre petrol model does without the electric power steering system used on every other model in the range, instead using a less advanced hydraulic set-up. Inevitably for the nicer features, you have to stretch further up the range. Even basic variants though, get air conditioning, cruise control with a useful speed limiter to keep your licence intact, remote locking, a rear spoiler, an MP3-compatible CD stereo, plus power mirrors and electric front windows. Popular options fitted further up the range include rear parking sensors, alloy wheels and auto headlamps.
COST OF OWNERSHIP
As usual when it comes to cost of ownership, the diesel option is by far the better way to go once you've swallowed the up-front asking price premium. With the Aveo though, the gulf between petrol and diesel is especially wide.
A budget-brand supermini was once a last resort when you couldn't stretch to the safe conformity of a Fiesta, a Corsa or a Polo. Now look at it. Cutting edge styling, the option of super-frugal diesel power and a hi-tech up-to-the-minute platform that in this case, more expensive Vauxhalls can only copy.