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Welcome arrow Articles arrow Car Reviews arrow Chevrolet Aveo
Chevrolet Aveo PDF Print E-mail

The region’s premier auto show, arguably the most prestigious annual event held, takes place each year at the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Center (BITEC).  Thai motor manufacturers and major importers exhibit their wares, with some more exotic motors on show such as the new Jaguar XK, priced at 13.3m baht, and a Mercedes-Benz SL sports cabriolet at 14.4m baht.  Some, though, were less exotic.  At the more down-to-earth end of the scale, and likely to become a popular choice in Thailand, was the latest 1.4 liter Chevrolet Aveo.

Chevrolet Aveo
Chevrolet Aveo
The South Korean-built Aveo makes no pretence at offering luxury or sophisticated motoring.  Some would say it is patently out of date, but what it does offer is relatively inexpensive driving in – again relatively – reasonable comfort.  It is also inherently safe with side as well as front airbags for driver and front seat passenger.

The 1.4 engine may be modest, but will be more than adequate within the confines of Phuket. Producing a competent 94 bhp (69 kW), with maximum torque of 130 Nm, the Aveo is a lively performer without attempting to set any records.  Its makers claim a respectable 13.7 km/liter gas consumption, but expect to fill up more frequently over Phuket’s undulating terrain. Automatic transmission is standard, while the top speed is a claimed 170 km/h.

Its makers claim it is America’s best-selling small car and it certainly possesses the right credentials: roomy, good ride quality and an understated appearance that makes it an ideal family sedan.  The excellent ride owes itself to front struts and rear torsion bar suspension; an added advantage to this set-up is that it does not intrude on occupant or luggage space.  In addition, the wheelbase is one of the longest in its class which contributes to a well balanced ride and the soaking up of any unexpected undulations.

The styling is the work of Giorgetto Giugiaro’s Italdesign studios in Turin and although the veteran Italian designer has some worthy models to his credit, older readers may recall the dreadful Hyundai Pony of the mid-Seventies which also ‘benefited’ from Guigiaro’s input.

On the plus side, the man was also responsible for the long-running VW Golf, the futuristic Lotus Esprit of the Seventies and a number of Alfa Romeo models.

Regrettably the Aveo bows to price constraints and is equipped with rear drum brakes allied to ventilated front discs.  The Chevrolet website proudly proclaims: “A four-channel, four-sensor ABS system with electronic brake force distribution is available”.  Translation: it’s not standard, as it should be on all cars in this day and age.  More relevant perhaps, the car is fitted with Chevrolet’s advanced Euro-ride suspension, as fitted to the Optra/Nubira/Lacetti (see Gazette January 7) consisting of the Macpherson struts and gas shock absorbers up front; a torsion beam and helical springs at the rear.

On a more positive note, the passenger compartment is essentially a ‘safety cell’.  Made from high-strength steel, it forms a protective cage around the occupants, with the front structure designed to dissipate impact energy through multiple paths.  The B-pillar is of a significant design as it moves like a pendulum rather than collapsing and penetrating the passenger compartment in a crash.  It is a design feature normally only found in larger, more luxurious vehicles.

Although inevitably compact, the Aveo’s interior is surprisingly well equipped, with a European-style console in a mix of chrome and black, and containing the digital clock, a quality audio system with tape, CD and MP3 functions.

Overall, a self-effacing motor car but one that is sure to find new friends in Thailand.  It certainly makes a pleasant change to many of the anonymous offerings from the Land of the Rising Sun.

-JH

 

 
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© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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