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Chevrolet Matiz Hatchback engines, drive and performance

2005 - 2009 (change model)
Performance rating: 2 out of 52.0

Written by David Ross Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

Drivers who spend most of their time in the city or town should go for the 50bhp 800cc unit. At low speeds there’s little noticeable difference to the more expensive 65bhp 1.0-litre plus it feels perky and is easy to drive in traffic. There’s no disguising the fact that its 0-62mph time of 18.2 seconds is slow, but it’s geared to get to 30mph quickly – which it does well.

Buyers who spend more of their time on open roads or motorways should opt for the 1.0-litre, which feels less stressed at higher speeds – it manages the 0-62mph dash in 14.1 seconds. From November a four-speed automatic gearbox was offered with the 0.8-litre engine, but it has the dubious title of having the slowest 0-62mph time of any car on sale – taking 21.9 seconds.

In town the Matiz is easy to drive. Thanks to a small turning circle (the equivalent of turning within the length of a double-decker bus) it is ideal for quick three-point turns or multi-storey car parks. There’s also a positive gearchange, light clutch and smooth ride which means zipping in and out of traffic is simple. However out of town, the Matiz can struggle, with vague, lifeless steering and a lack of grip.

Thankfully body roll is kept well under check.