Chevrolet Aveo - what's the best spec?

  • Which is the best Chevrolet Aveo in the line-up?
  • Top diesel returns 78.4mpg, but expensive to buy
  • Entry level 1.2-litre petrol offers excellent value

The Chevrolet Aveo could well be a smart choice if you are looking for something that’s affordable, cheap to run, eco-friendly and stylish.

The facts speak for themselves: if you opt for the entry level 1.2 LS version you’ll pay £9,995 if you don’t bother to haggle, but if you go to an online broker you’ll be looking at a £1,500 discount. If you are hell-bent on a diesel you’ll pay £12,345 for the 1.3 VCDi, but expect £1,000 off if you buy from an internet dealer. Trouble is, the Aveo doesn’t hold its value that well – you can expect to get around 35% of the car’s original value after three years/30,000 miles.

As a driving machine the five-door Aveo is competent, though. It rides well, has reasonable handling abilities - apart from zero steering feel - and it’s comfortable enough. The brakes are excellent and the five-speed gearbox is smooth. The only real downside is that there’s not much legroom in the rear and the boot isn’t that large. You’d be better off with a Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Fiesta, Mazda2 or even a Renault Clio if space is a priority.

What’s it like behind the wheel?

Inside it’s workmanlike. The plastics are pretty low-rent but at least the layout is easy to understand - and there’s plenty of useful little storage spaces too. It also offers great visibility, which makes it very easy to park, and the sizeable digital speedometer is perfectly placed if you do have a tendency to speed in built-up areas.

So, although you cannot call this a class-leader in terms of the all-round package, it is pretty competent as a city runaround. If you do opt for an Aveo you will get a cheap and cheerful little package that isn’t a Ford or a Vauxhall. The only thing you’ve got left to consider is which one to choose.

There are three trim levels – LS, LT and LTZ – but we think the LS spec, that offers air-con, cruise control, remote locking, a rear spoiler, a CD stereo, electrically adjustable heated door mirror and electric front windows is more than enough.

In this instance we think this trim is designed for the job, and there’s no need to pay out the extra £1,000 for the LT which adds 15-inch alloys, steering wheel-mounted controls, a four-way adjustable driver’s seat and Bluetooth with music streaming. The LTZ offers some extra goodies such as rear parking sensors, front foglamps, six-speaker CD stereo and automatic headlamps but we think this is an unnecessary expense and won’t increase the resale value that much. The higher trim levels do make the car look a lot sharper though, so if image is a priority, it may be worth considering.

Which engine is the sensible choice?

There are three engines in the Aveo line-up: a 1.2-litre petrol, a 1.3-litre diesel and a 1.4-litre petrol. The 1.2-litre petrol delivers 85bhp and the 1.4 has a total power output of 99bhp. The diesel, however, is offered with 74bhp and 94bhp power outputs.

If performance is your priority go for the 1.3-litre 94bhp diesel ‘Eco’ version. It’s got a five-speed manual and it’ll get you from 0-62mph in a reasonably impressive 11.7 seconds. You don’t need the six-speed version; it’s actually slower to the 62mph benchmark and it does feel a little slower on the road too.

The downside is that the Diesel Eco version will cost you a lot more to buy. The list price is £12,795, which means that the 74bhp lower powered diesel that’s £12,345 is better value. Of course, the 74bhp version isn’t quite so sprightly (0-62mph takes 14.2 seconds) but on the road you won't feel that it's that much slower.

So, if you really are wedded to the idea of an Aveo diesel we suggest that you go for the 74bhp version which, with a 74.3mpg claimed average fuel economy and CO2 emissions of 99g/km, will be very cheap to run.

Our favourite in terms of value is the 1.2-litre petrol, and we would even suggest that you go for the entry level LS trim.

In terms of performance there’s not much difference between the 1.2-litre and the 1.4. The 1.2 gets from 0-60mph in 13.6 seconds while the 1.4-litre will do the same in 12.2 seconds. The 1.4-litre doesn’t feel that much faster and, in terms of fuel economy, it’s good but not great. Official figures say the 1.4 averages 53.3mpg while the 1.2-litre is much more impressive with 60.9mpg. Because the 1.2-litre emits just 111g/km of CO2 you’ll get free road tax in the first year and then you’ll pay just £35 every year after that.

Chevrolet Aveo – the Parkers’ pick

So, we think it’s best to go for the 1.2-litre petrol in LS trim. You’ll keep your costs down and it’ll be fairly frugal. Yes, you get much better fuel economy from the Eco Diesel that promises 78.4mpg, but you’ll have to cover a lot of miles to justify the extra initial expense.

To see our full review of the Chevrolet Aveo click here.

Also consider:

Ford Fiesta
The best car in the class in terms of handling, but the diesel versions are comparatively expensive.

Mazda2
The ‘2’ is stylish and it has a decent, no-nonsense interior. Very close to the Fiesta in terms of handling.

Vauxhall Corsa
Does all things well, but doesn’t excel at any one thing. Opportunity for a decent discount so could be a very good-value buy.