Monday, June 9, 2014

Used Car Review - Chevrolet Aveo Hatchback (2003-2009)

A hatchback comes under the scrutiny of Myk Belmonte for this week.

2003-2009 Chevrolet Aveo Hatchback

Hatchbacks are one important vehicle when it comes to the college landscape, especially some folks (or in this case, students) value practicality in a sense that they will fit tiny alleys without putting a ding to their car. While hatchbacks are tough sell before, they are now accepted by the society thanks to their perceived benefits.

We all know that the Aveo was first conceived as a Daewoo under GM's management. Since we had reviewed the sedan (which is more successful locally) last October, everything under its worldwide history can be seen here.

After the local GM distributor's focus towards gas guzzling SUVs and vans from America and China, its was damn time to launch passenger sedans made in Korea in the name of the Aveo and Optra. The former, the subject of our review, was first available in hatchback guise in late 2003 with a trunked version of it in 2006. Unlike competitors that were either cheaper in price or slightly expensive, the Aveo was glued to dealer floors. Due to disappointing sales, it was dropped after 2009 until the Sonic hatchback filled its void three years later. Variants include the 1.2 L and 1.5 LT.

Value and Costs
Due to its unpopularity in the market plus the low resale values associated with Chevrolets, Aveos can be cheaply picked up in the market. While you get it for less, other competitors from Japan of the same period are better purchases so think many times before committing on buying one.

As mentioned on our Aveo Sedan review, parts availability isn't great and also its fuel consumption. Quality is a demerit, so be careful.

Exterior and Interior
There is nothing to write home about the outside styling, despite some interesting light quirks, fender flares, and even some body kits in later models, this won't make you stand out from the crowd. Until its 2008 update which had a huge grille (that the Captiva possessed later on), the grille was basically one piece that is clean to look at. A way to distinguish the 1.2 from the 1.5 is the alloy wheels, it is standard among the latter models.

Good thing about this hatchback is the cabin, which possesses an upright steering position and easily reachable controls. Do take note that 1.2 models do not have any power amenities (save for the power steering) while 1.5 variants have complete power features. Lest we forget that shifting to reverse is just beside the first gear.

Let us have a rundown on the available engines of this beast starting with the basic (and what we recommend when buying): the S-TEC 1,150cc with 70hp at 5,400rpm and 104Nm at 4,400rpm. Before throwing us some stones, we say that the 1.2 is a better pick since it is more relaxed although one must be attentive to the noise that the engine produces since a tachometer does not come standard for the 1.2 model. Despite the availability of power amenities in the E-TEC 1,498cc carrying 83hp at 5,600rpm and 128Nm at 3,000rpm, we'd avoid this one since despite an additional 300cc worth of power, the figures are comparable to a Vios 1.3. Underpowered at its best, trashing the available gears to extract every ounce of power is needed plus fuel consumption is much worse for this engine.

Driving Impressions
Driving fun isn't the best thing that the Aveo is known for, but hey you get a comfortable driving position and a composed ride (thanks to the suspension settings). Steering is lifeless at best which is a handy tool when it comes to maneuvering.

The used car kingdom gives you tons of automotive treasures that one can obtain for less cash. While the Aveo has some virtues, its apparent weaknesses as well as some superior competitors have dwarfed this choice. Look elsewhere is what we recommend.

The Good:
  • Cheap to buy
  • Comfortable
  • Easy to drive
The Bad:
  • Cheap interior materials
  • Less efficient 1.5 engine
  • Lifeless steering
The Pick: 1.2 (if you are determined on buying this car)

Engines: 1,150cc S-TEC and 1,498cc E-TEC II I4 gasoline
Power: 70hp @ 5,400rpm (1.2), 83hp @ 5,600rpm (1.5)
Torque: 104Nm @ 4,400rpm (1.2), 128Nm @ 3,000rpm (1.5)
Fuel Consumption: 5-8km/L (city), 7-10km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic (1.5 only)
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear torsion beam

Price (New): P570,000-P760,000
Price (Now): P180,000-P290,000
Rivals: Honda Jazz, Hyundai Getz, Kia Picanto, Suzuki Swift, Toyota Yaris
On Sale: 2003-2009

Chevrolet Pasig - (02) 672-1485
Chevrolet Quezon Avenue - (02) 374-1250

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