By on July 6, 2009

“But, but,” I sputtered, gesticulating in a fashion I hoped was somewhere between acceptably friendly and usefully threatening, “when I reserved online, I specifically chose a Chevrolet Cobalt or similar.” “This is similar,” the smiling woman behind the counter assured me. “It’s very similar. It is also a Chevrolet, and it is the only intermediate we have left.” “Listen, lady,” I said, trying desperately to not sound like a crazy person, “the 1977 Cutlass Supreme Brougham was an intermediate. This is a tin box from Korea.” Despite its obvious absurdity, it was the last even vaguely rational thing I said. Bottom line: they were out of cars here at the Asheville airport. This was what they had left. Although I eventually received a four dollar and twenty-one cent credit to my account, there was no changing the fact that I would have to drive an automatic-transmission Aveo through the Great Smoky Mountains. Oh well. At least I could perform a top-speed test.

More than thirty years ago, General Motors responded to the flood of competent, cheerful imported small cars by introducing the Chevrolet Chevette. The Chevette was far from a perfect vehicle—perhaps no modern subcompact has been farther from the ideal—but it was designed by American GM personnel, from a European GM platform and built in the United States. It represented an honest attempt by GM to compete in the market. It should have been the first of many such efforts.

Instead, the Chevette was more or less replaced by the Sprint, a rebadged three-cylinder Suzuki. GM told us it was just temporary until the bright, shining day when GM would strike back with an all-American small car. Ha. More than twenty years later, we’re still waiting. Cruze much? We shall see. In the meantime, GM’s subcontracted the job to an even lower-cost producer, their Korean partner Daewoo. How pathetic is that? Let’s put it in perspective. Honda’s knocked out seven generations of Civics since GM sold a new American-made entry-level car.

It’s tempting, therefore, simply to pan the Aveo because it represents one of the most crass, cynical decisions ever taken by the company that was once America’s greatest automaker. That would never do here on TTAC. So instead I’ll review the car on its own merits, which are negligible.

Our tester stickered for $16,185. Forget about the used cars you could buy for that money. Within a thousand bucks up or down, we have everything from the underrated Ford Focus to the aforementioned Honda Civic, to say nothing of the VW Rabbit. All of those are real cars, which is to say they can climb hills.

The Aveo does not climb hills. Through the Smoky Mountains, it frequently reached for second gear in its woeful automatic transmission. In an ultimately unsuccessful effort to maintain the speed limit on steep grades, I pasted pedal to metal. Unfortunately, it did little to limit the time spent inside. While not unpleasant to observe, the Aveo’s front seats are proscribed by the Geneva Convention.

Though the Aveo couldn’t hold seventy up a hill, we were certain that it would be possible to break the magic “ton” downhill. At the crest of a long five percent grade, I gripped the wheel and asked the engine room for maximum thrust. Down we flew . . . eighty . . . eighty-five . . . ninety . . . The doors shook in their rubber moldings. The ChevyWoo’s nose began to wander alarmingly across the road surface, forcing me to correct at high speed like Raikkonnen coming out of the tunnel at Monaco. As the speedometer passed ninety-five, a low moaning noise gained terrifying resonance in the cabin. Things looked good for triple-digit street speed, but a rather gentle curve at the bottom of the long hill interrupted the party.

A quarter-turn of steering produced plenty of noise but no appreciable variance in heading, forcing me to left-foot kick the brake and then to induce some further oscillation with a sharp shake of the wheel. Finally, the squealing Aveo, now on the safe side of eighty-five, nosed into the turn. It was, without a doubt, the most terrifying moment I’ve experienced at even vaguely legal highway speeds in a long time.

Okay, so the Aveo doesn’t go, turn, or stop. Did you think it would? I didn’t. Again, I did expect that the Chevy would offer some solid value and rewarding features for the money. The Aveo doesn’t even offer more features than the similarly priced competition. Our tester had no cruise control, no power windows, no power locks.

Time for the good news: we averaged around thirty-five miles per gallon on a long, hill-infested trip, and nothing broke or wobbled loose. That’s it. It’s impossible to care about this car, but don’t worry. GM shares your disinterest.

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100 Comments on “Review: 2009 Chevrolet Aveo Sedan 1LT...”


  • avatar
    Lokkii

    I had the misfortune to rent an Aveo for a few days last summer. I was only going to be in town for a couple of days, and didn’t figure to be driving much. Plus, I was on my own dime, and I figured that the money saved would be better spent on drink.

    The car was as horrible as you paint it. I was pretty sure at the time that the parking brake was stuck on, a view reinforced by the howl from the back of the car. I kept driving it. It wasn’t worth the hassle of getting another car, and I figured that it wasn’t like I was destroying the Statue of Liberty or something if the car burned up.

    Small, scary, pathetic, cheap. I just can’t see how anyone would buy one of these when, for the same money, you could have a Honda Fit – a car that seems light years ahead in design and quality.

    Aveo – the American Trablant.

  • avatar
    menno

    This is the future of the “new GM”. With Opel gone, NewGMNA pretty much only capable of engineering on-frame SUVs and trucks and Holden too small to matter, you’re looking at the results of the talent behind the new automobiles to come forth from New GM.

    I would only buy a Daewoo (no matter how badged) for 1/2 price of retail. In fact, did so in 2003 (a leftover 2002). Long story, but didn’t want a used car – got a Nubira. Ironically, it was far better than the Ohio built 1997 Cavalier or Mexican built Dodge Neon we’d had prior… both US engineered.

    Which speaks volumes all by itself.

  • avatar
    tced2

    You forgot to mention some other wonderful GM small cars. Pre-Chevette – the Vega – had a number of interesting ideas but none of them worked out. The Cavalier. I don’t have high hopes for the Cruze – it’s also from the Daewoo folks. Daewoo went bankrupt and became part of GM. Remember the last Pontiac Le Mans? – a Daewoo vehicle – one of the many bad chapters of the end of Pontiac.

    GM has never taken small cars seriously. That’s one of the reasons why they are in their current (sad) state.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    1 star? That’s generous! The Aveo is alone in its spot as the shittiest car ever sold as a Chevrolet. That includes the Vega and the Monza. Absolute garbage.

  • avatar
    jmo

    $16,185?

    What meaning does that number have? Has an Aveo ever sold for that price?

  • avatar

    I’ve never driven one of these. Maybe that’s why I can ask, “Why does everyone have to be so mean to the Chevy Aveo?”

    The Cruze won’t be the equivalent to this car–it’s the next class up. And a good share of its engineering was performed outside the U.S.

    Which means that the Aveo competes with the Fit rather than the Civic. Not helping it’s case. I fully expected the Aveo to be much cheaper in an apples-to-apples comparison–but if anything the Fit seems to have a slightly lower price. Oops.

    http://www.truedelta.com/comparisons1/Aveo-vs-Fit-price-comparison.php

    Not enough signed up for TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey yet. Know an owner? Send them here:

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    PeregrineFalcon

    Michael Karesh: “Why does everyone have to be so mean to the Chevy Aveo?”

    It’s shit.

    Really. You’d be far, far better off in any other subcompact in the market, including the (other) Korean marques Hyundai/Kia.

    Go take one for a test drive – I guarantee they won’t give you any hassle other than trying to get you to move up to the Cobalt.

  • avatar
    commando1

    35 years ago I got stuck with a Chevette with A.C. for a rental. Every time the compressor kicked in, you had to pull over to let loaded semis get by you.

    Amizing that in 35 years nothing has improved in GM’s sub-econo arsenal.

  • avatar
    Lokkii

    I’ve never driven one of these. Maybe that’s why I can ask, “Why does everyone have to be so mean to the Chevy Aveo?”

    Michael -
    It’s not that the cars are small and cheap and underpowered. It’s that it’s drudgery to drive one. That’s the unforgivable sin of the Aveo.

    A small cheap underpowered car can be a joy to drive. I used to love VW beetles because you HAD to rev them to the redline, but those tiny engines loved that and I LOVE little screamers (heh). You leaned them over in the corners and thought you were going on the roof, but you were only going 30 mph. They were FUN. A drive to the office was a lap of the ring.

    The Aveo is like walking with one of the Volga boatman. Yo ho HEAVE ho, doom doom doom doom, Yo ho HEAVE ho…

  • avatar
    KixStart

    superbadd75: “The Aveo is alone in its spot as the shittiest car ever sold as a Chevrolet.”

    Worse than the Chevette? Ouch. The only thing the gas pedal did in the Chevette was change the pitch of the noise.

    Baruth,

    What rental company is that? If they’re foisting Aveos on innocent consumers who reserved “intermediate” cars, I want no part of them.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    when I reserved online, I specifically chose a Chevrolet Cobalt or similar

    One of the nice things about Clown Car Compacts is that they really are well-packaged. That goofy roof height allows a really comfortable seating position, one better than what the next size up does. It’s the reason I own a Fit and not a Civic or Accord: I actually fit better in it.

    I had an Aveo as a rental a few years back (and have been in and out of the little buggers since) when my wife was some eight months pregnant. She found the car nearly as comfortable as our in-the-shop-again Saab 9-3 and much more than our old Mazda Protege.

    Through the Smoky Mountains, it frequently reached for second gear in its woeful automatic transmission.

    The automatic is, horrifically, the better of the two transmissions. The five-speed manual has to be the worst passenger car shifter in history. I’ve driven medium-duty trucks with more “snickety-snick”. The automatic, though, generally finds the right gear, does so quickly, and doesn’t get flustered.

    I think what you’re noticing is that little 1.6L lump of iron GM purports to call an engine. Compared to the little marvel in the Yaris, this is a truly awful powerplant.

    A quarter-turn of steering produced plenty of noise but no appreciable variance in heading

    Yeah, there’s that, too. A car this small should be quick on it’s feet, and this isn’t.

    When the Aveo first came out, it really was reasonably competitive, and it utterly shamed the next-up-the-ladder Cavalier** in terms of refinement, packaging and interior quality. It was also more or less better than the contemporary Rio and Accent, and at least bigger than the Echo of the time, if not better. The hatch was especially appealing for entry-level buyers, and I recall Chevy dealers being really confused about how the hell to sell Cavaliers when this was in the showroom. In those first few months, it moved fairly well.

    But then the Rio and Accent were revamped and got marginally better than the Aveo, the Yaris showed up and was definitely better, and the Fit and Versa changed the game completely. God help the Aveo when it gets cross-shopped against the Fiesta.

    Right now, this car sells only because it is cheap, and even then, it’s not appreciably cheaper than the Kia Rio.

    ** not a ambitious target, I’ll grant you.

  • avatar
    Ronman

    you should drive the hatchback, it’s even worse. i was cruising (if i can use the term) on a six lane highway in Dubai, could barely muscle 80kph to run way from the trucks. it was a deathtrap on wheels, had to keep my eyes on my rear view mirror to avoid cars passing me rather than keep my eyes on the road, because i was never going fast enough to catch up to anything in order to crash into it, not even a traffic sign at the rate they change traffic flow in Dubai .

  • avatar
    crackers

    The reality is that GM doesn’t actually sell this car for the $16,185 sticker price; it simply isn’t competitive at that price. They have to offer massive discounts to get the price low enough so that the shortcomings are not as serious. $16,185 is simply what they would like to sell it for, but in reality, it needs to sticker for somewhere around $13,000.

  • avatar
    vanderaj

    When we first arrived in the USA, we had the misfortune of having one of these shit boxes for nearly a month. It was by far the worst car I’ve ever driven, and I’ve driven hundreds, including the woeful and dangerous Dodge Nitro.

    There are motoring journos who say things like “There are no more bad cars.” They have obviously never driven a Chevy Aveo.

    We had the 4 door sedan model, a model that most markets thankfully will never experience. Not only did it have a laughable trunk, fully capable of holding maybe one bag of golf clubs… if you took them out and squished the bag down so that the gooseneck trunk lid mechanism wouldn’t crush them. You might be lucky to stick a decapitated torso without arms or legs in the trunk. It’s not even a one body trunk.

    We ended up putting our luggage into the back seats, which is made all the more difficult by the narrow opening doors, and quite frankly a terribly wasteful design. I’m sure the sedan was a complete afterthought for the USA market, who for some rather stupid reason hates hatches.

    Keeping up with traffic was simply not possible. It was dangerous to merge if you had a short on ramp – even on a 45 mph parkway. It didn’t have the engine, brakes or steering in reserve if you were about to be collected by a granny in a Toyota Corolla in the right lane, so you had to carefully plan your route or drive only when it’s very quiet and pray to God that Jack Baruth wasn’t in the emergency lane.

    The fuel economy was woeful. We got 21 mpg out of the 1.6 litre engine. That was highway driving (IAD to Columbia, MD) and running around town 5-10 miles at a time at moderate speeds on the various parkways around town.

    You had to keep your distance – the car’s braking system was like standing on a piece of wood, which btw is what I’m moderately sure the drum brakes were lined with as they stunk if you had to stop suddenly – once.

    We bought a VW Rabbit 5 door in late January 2007, and despite only costing an extra $2k over our hire car’s MSRP, we had a sunroof, a quiet and well built interior, a thirsty if capable 2.5 litre engine that regularly managed 28 mpg on the highway, cruise control, decent road feel through the steering, rock solid stability at 70 mph, cavernous interior room that literally swallowed our two large Ikea trolleys of flat pack furniture in one hit, had ESP and ABS and EBD and 7 airbags, and was everything the Aveo was not. Getting out of the Aveo and into the VW was like stepping into an entirely different world.

    I think 1/5 is overly generous. The Aveo is the anti-car. Even “I only buy cars to get from A to B” folks would hate being in this penalty box. It’s the true definition of “shit box” in every way.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I’ve never driven one of these. Maybe that’s why I can ask, “Why does everyone have to be so mean to the Chevy Aveo?”

    It’s not as bad as it’s made out to be. That said, it’s also the second-worst car you can buy new (winner: Dodge Calibre). That’s saying something.

    Which means that the Aveo competes with the Fit rather than the Civic. Not helping it’s case. I fully expected the Aveo to be much cheaper in an apples-to-apples comparison–but if anything the Fit seems to have a slightly lower price. Oops.

    The Aveo is often discounted to levels the Fit will never, ever reach. Ditto the Yaris (which is really more it’s natural competitor, and a thoroughly better car) and the Versa. It’s up against the Rio and Accent, which are also better cars.

    No one buys fully-loaded Aveos, or at least if they do, they don’t pay what GM or it’s dealers need in order to make money. The Fit and Yaris (at least in Canada) are not often discounted, and the upper trims do sell.

    Again, it’s not really horrific, but you can tell it exists to fill a price point, and that GM doesn’t really want to sell it. It’s doubly-shameful when you see Opel Corsas for sale in Mexico that are much better cars, on the whole.

  • avatar
    chinar

    Not really arguing with the statement that the Aveo is quite possibly the shitiest car sold in the US, but a few counter points:

    1. It is quite spacious, the trunk in the sedan is really quite huge. I test drove a Fiesta recently in Chicago (Ford’s marketing event) and it felt smaller inside than this 7 yr old daewoo design

    2. The recently revamped interior is close to the best in the segment

    3. The ride quality is way way better than the last gen Fit (haven’t driven the new one)

    4. The fuel economy is very decent and the acceleration is on par with the segment.

    The three things that make the Aveo so terrible are the absolutely crappy handling, lack of refinement and the pricing.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I think 1/5 is overly generous. The Aveo is the anti-car. Even “I only buy cars to get from A to B” folks would hate being in this penalty box.

    No, it isn’t. The Corolla (or Yaris) is the anti-car person’s car; the kind of vehicle you buy as when you need your car to last, cost nothing, be comfortable and not kill you.

    The Aveo is what you settle for when you can’t afford better and, for no reason I can figure out, can’t or won’t buy a used Yaris.

  • avatar
    moedaman

    That was total BS from the rental company. If the Aveo is intermediate, then what do they rent in the compact size, golf carts? If this happened to me, I wold never rent from them again. Just a word of advise, look over the list of available cars from any rental agency. It will give you a chance to see what you can get stuck with at a particular company so you can counter offer an alternative.

  • avatar
    TwoTwenty

    The Aveo taught me a valuable lesson – don’t cheap out on a rental car. I had the unfortunate experience of renting one for a trip from Albuquerque to San Francisco. It is as bad as everyone describes, and I didn’t get anywhere near 35 MPG, and our trip was all highway driving. This car is indefensible, considering what else is available on the market, new or used.

    I am going on a 10-day trip next week to visit the national parks in Utah and specifically reserved an intermediate car so I would not have to suffer through another trip in an Aveo. I hope I don’t get stuck with one.

  • avatar

    psarhjinian
    The Aveo is what you settle for when you can’t afford better and, for no reason I can figure out, can’t or won’t buy a used Yaris.

    Wal, shoot… yu’d buy one of these if you was wantin’ to buy you a ‘Murrican car instead of one of them Japanese thangs. After all, Chevy’s ’bout as ‘Murrican as yew ken git!!

    Seriously, though, what’s really sad is that nothing’s changed about the car underneath. Too bad they didn’t put as much effort into making it drive better as they did in trying to make it look more like a small Impalibu.

  • avatar
    sutski

    HERTZ told me the only car you can reserve definitely is the PRIUS as it is in their “green collection” and green is green….or is it?? as they name a SUBARU OUTBACK in their green collection after the jump….I guess only because it is actually painted green as 20/26mpg is hardly green is it !!!!!

    https://www.hertz.com/rentacar/byr/index.jsp?targetPage=USgreencollection.jsp?leftNavUserSelection=globNav_3_5_1&selectedRegion=United%20States

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    I don’t see the Outback in the green collection…when I’ve had them from Hertz, it was the equivalent of a midsize sedan (Fusion) or crossover (Escape). But I usually get Xterras, which I’m becoming fond of for field work in the mountains and plain states.

  • avatar

    The one I rented last year wasn’t too bad. It did steer poorly, but overall I thought it handled fairly well (granted I never exceeded 70 mph), but I have to ask why anyone would buy one when, for the same money or a few bucks more, you can do so much better? This is why GM is in trouble.

    John

  • avatar
    trd2345

    @sutski

    The Subaru isn’t considered green because of its gas mileage, but rather because the actual production process of the car is “green”. I’ve got a feeling it’s a partial zero emissions vehicle as well.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I’ve got a feeling it’s a partial zero emissions vehicle as well.

    You can get a PZEV Legacy, but not all Legacies are PZEV.

  • avatar
    Canucknucklehead

    My sister had a 2006 Aveo. Note that she HAD it. In 20,000 km it went through an engine, transmission and two computers. The dealer was a total jerk. She flogged the thing before the reputation of the car became commonplace and bought a Civic, which, two years later, has been trouble free.

    The Cruz is just going to be yet another of GM’s much vaunted “import fighters.” There is no way on God’s Green Earth it can compete with the Corolla or Civic.

  • avatar
    GeeDashOff

    GM has never taken small cars seriously

    Pretty much this.

    Why sell somebody a small car with razor thin profit margins when you can sell somebody a body on frame truck with much much much larger profit margins…

  • avatar
    niky

    One star! That’s exactly what the Aveo got on its EuroNCAP crash test!

    I have no idea why anyone would want to buy these GM-Daewoo pigs… the engines are agricultural, even by Korean standards, the handling is terrible (a Kia Rio or Hyundai Accent may not have any grip, either, but they have much more handling confidence and much less understeer…) and the build quality borders on Chinese.

    Last time I drove a Lacetti/Optra, I was struck by how clumsy the manual felt and how much understeer there was. And that was while driving at just 30 mph.

    I think the most surprising facts from this review are:

    1. That you actually got to 95 mph before the crappy alignment and wheels started vibrating in protest.

    and

    2. That you got 35 mpg. I was under the impression that it was physically impossible for GMDAT four-bangers to get over 20 mpg.

  • avatar

    @Canucknucklehead

    Yup..bad engines, bad transmissions, cruddy handling, horrible cheap plastic smell. Possibly worth about the new $8999 entry level price and not a penny more.

  • avatar
    john.fritz

    Obama-mobile.

    You will learn to like it…

  • avatar
    threeer

    Wife ended up with one of these two weeks ago as a rental unit while our Fusion was being repaired after a parking lot fender bender. Her impression? After three days she gave it back and chose to drive our son’s (now available since he’s off at the Academy and can’t have a car) 1997 Toyota Tercel with 184k on the odometer! That’s pretty damning…(for the Aveo, that is. As for the Tercel, we simply love the little scooter).

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Hence the reason why I always push folks towards a Versa if they’re looking for commuting on the 10k to 12k side of the world.

  • avatar
    red60r

    GM seemed always to saddle their tinymobiles with crappy handling in order to meet the imagined demand for big-car ride softness as a prerequisite. The products exist mainly to satisfy CAFE requirements via the bizarre formulae that allow manufacturers to cobble together legions of unsellable junk to rot on the lots to offset their thirsty SUVs. I noticed the absence of the GEO line in the above discussions — was that any better, or just not even worth the mention?

  • avatar
    Airhen

    Our tester stickered for $16,185.

    Last fall I bought a Civic as a daily driver, an ’09 LX for $17.2k and for the money it’s such a nice car. It is amazing that someone can actually sell the little junk cars like the Aevo (or even buy one) when a basic Civic doesn’t cost that much more.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    Wasn’t the aveo advertised as the “cheapest car in america” ?

    Isn’t the base hyundai accent MSRP at under $10k?

    $16k sticker price = nsfw…??

  • avatar
    Canucknucklehead

    Our tester stickered for $16,185.

    I very much doubt that any Aveo goes out the door at that price, especially with cranker windows.

    GM is so hopeless; I am a businessman and I would not give up one percent of my market if there were one cent to be made on it. Repeat buyers are what you want. Besides, Honda makes a profit of everything they sell, which kind of blows the “no profit on small cars” mantra.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Besides, Honda makes a profit of everything they sell, which kind of blows the “no profit on small cars” mantra.

    There’s a difference between “we can’t make a profit” and “we don’t think a car is worth making”. Honda probably doesn’t make much (if anything) on the Fit, but knows they have to spend money in order to snare future Accord/Oddy/Pilot buyers.

    GM makes this vehicle simply to fill a slot in the lineup and give dealers something to move; given the choice, they’d rather not make it at all and don’t seem to understand that every Aveo buyer is a potential shopper for something better. Or rather, every Fit, Yaris and/or Versa isn’t just a lost Aveo sale. it’s a lost Malibu/Traverse/etc as well.

    You cannot ignore the low end of the market, or if you do, it’s at your peril. It’s where buyers will fall back to in bad times, and it’s in those bad times that you hope you’ve got a war chest and an appealing product so that you’ll steal sales and mindshare from your competitors.

    Upper-market buyers are fickle and will switch brands and products easily; they’ll also forgive problems and failings in their purchase because it was ego-driven and discretionary. Low-market buyers are much more hard-headed, and will avoid you like the plague if you burn them.

  • avatar
    Canucknucklehead

    Honda probably doesn’t make much (if anything) on the Fit

    Actually, it probably does make a decent profit per car. The Fit is sold all over the world in practically identical form and the last generation was sold unchanged for seven years. Nor is a Fit particularly cheap, especially when you add a couple of options. Just goes to show that people will pay more for a product they perceive as a better value,

  • avatar

    I’m surprised you got 35mpg. My wife too got suckered into renting one of these when all the good cars were gone.

    28mpg round trip from Lexington to Louisville. I’m sure you are aware there’s no mountains between the two and unless she had it stuck in 1st gear and didn’t realize it, that’s such an epic fail for a small car.

    The next week she got a Nissan Versa. Standing alone it may not be a desirable car, but compared to the Aveo it’s the best car on the planet.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    This is the Chevy Cobalt with a different name.

    You better be buying KIA or Hyundai.

  • avatar
    Aloysius Vampa

    @BEAT:

    “This is the Chevy Cobalt with a different name.”

    What.

  • avatar
    shaker

    I did a double-take when I saw that MSRP – went to Chevy’s “Build Your Own” site, and sure as shite: $16,185 with the only options being Auto tranny and ABS.

    For giggles, I built a 2LT sedan loaded with all of the (plus dealer-installed) options: $19,180.

    The 2LT doesn’t even come with aluminum wheels – GAH!

    Aveo… must…die.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    What do you mean by What?

    Aveo is Chevy Cobalt. Understood

  • avatar

    My theory regarding the Fit is this…

    Honda is breaking even at best making it in Japan right now and selling it here, but the biggest plant for Fit/Jazz production is… CHINA! European Jazzes are now coming from China.

    So, once everybody is comfy with Fits here in the US, they will start streaming in Chinese production, just like they did with US production in 1982.

    That’s called “playing the long game”.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    No offense to this GM owned Korean entry level car for the NA sub-compact market – but it isn’t even close to being an intermediate.

    When I was presented an Aveo as being my only choice by an airport rental agent, I smoothly held onto their paperwork that the agent disinterestedly put in front of me to sign. – Then turned around and announced that I needed to shop around with the competition first.

    At that point the Enterprise agent picked up the phone and a Pontiac G6 became available.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I was interested in the Aveo hatchback when they first came out. Of course I had no idea how horrible they were back then. We were looking for a car for my wife. She didn’t like the looks of the Aveo, but I liked the price. We ended up with a used Jetta TDI. Glad I didn’t buy an Aveo. The TDI loves hills and still gets great economy.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    People waits months to buy one down here. Really. They usually pay overprice too. Price being between US$ 11K-37K depending on the exchange rate chosen.

    I’ve seen those things going 110MPH in the highway here. Not faster than that.

    The version shown in the picture is called LS here, and was more expensive than the normal one. We haven’t got the facelift on the 3-5 door versions.

    And I don’t like them.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    @BEAT:

    “This is the Chevy Cobalt with a different name.”

    - Not in a long shot. – The base 2.2 in the Cobalt will pull the car at 80 mph all day long and still return 30 mpg. – The Cobalt is built on an entirely different platform than the Aveo.

  • avatar
    pb35

    BEAT

    What do you mean by What?

    Aveo is Chevy Cobalt. Understood

    I don’t understand. Please elaborate.

    I would have walked away from the rental counter if they tried to push one of these on me. I understand that’s not always an option.

  • avatar
    galaxygreymx5

    What do you mean by What?

    Aveo is Chevy Cobalt. Understood

    Uh…negative. The Aveo is a rebadged Daewoo Kalos, built in Korea and (unfortunately) floated on a big boat over to unsuspecting American rental car companies.

    The Cobalt is on an American GM Delta platform (the Saturn ION and Pontiac G5 were on this platform as well) and is built in Ohio.

    Aside from the badge on the nose the two cars are otherwise unrelated.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    I called Aveo the Cobalt because it has almost the same style.

    They have the same engine Ecotec. Doesn’t matter who built the Aveo. You have to hang around with people with Cobalt or Cobalt SS to know what I’m talking about not only research the name Aveo and found out where they come from or who built them. Try looking at Aveo T250 looks like a Cobalt.

    By the way You are ONLY RENTING a car what so BIG DEAL ABOUT driving a loaner for 2 days on a Aveo and Please NEVER RENT YOUR CAR AT THE AIRPORT. They JACK up some fees that you never expected them to put on your bill when you return your car.

    Read This
    http://forums.motortrend.com/70/6703480/the-general-forum/chevy-cobalt-vs-chevy-aveo/index.html

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    Our tester stickered for $16,185.

    GM is bankrupt. Why is this selling for anything over $8K??? Heck, I may consider the 5 speed as a winter beater for that.

    psarhjinian :
    The five-speed manual has to be the worst passenger car shifter in history.

    Then again, maybe not…

  • avatar
    highrpm

    This is one of the few cars on the road that makes me wonder about the driver. Is that car a rental? Maybe a company car (in the Detroit area it’s a possibility). Surely the driver isn’t paying for this car with his own money.

    $16k for this pig? I just can’t see spending money on this pig and feeling any sense of new car pride or happiness. I’d feel cheated if I spent $4k on this car.

    To the few folks out there that bought one new – was your old car really that bad?

  • avatar
    M1EK

    This review shows why the Prius reviewer should be committed to a mental institution. The Aveo is so much of a torture to drive that if the Prius merited 1 star, the Aveo should be like -5 stars.

    I’ve had to drive two on rental – one from the Nashville airport down to Huntsville. It actually does do as poorly on uphill freeway sections as the FUDders claim the Prius does; it’s punishing to drive anywhere at any speed; and still doesn’t manage to get very good gas mileage.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Aaaahhh no…. you are mistaken.

    The Cobalt and Aveo are as different as night and day. They have no powertrain components in common. Zero. Not a one. The Daewoo Matiz / Chevy Aveo has more in common with the Suzuki Forenza than anything Chevy offers in their lineup.

    The Cobalt is actually a very good deal in base to mid-level form. Choose the right teaser special and you can get it out the door decently equipped for around 10k to 12k. Buy it one year old and minimal mileage, and the price shoots down to 7k to 7500.

    The Cobalt has nice low end grunt and is reasonably quiet on the highway. The Aveo has an underpowered engine that offers no real economy advantage to the GM 2.2L, which produces nearly 50% more horsepower.

    The Aveo is uncompetitive. But other than Homda every manufacturer has sold a substandard compact this past decade.

  • avatar
    PeregrineFalcon

    To those reading about what the manual transmission in the Aveo is like, and are curious “Just how bad is it?” I have a simple way to emulate it:

    1. Fill a blender with ice
    2. Stick a wooden spatula in it, narrow end down
    3. Turn on the blender, and try “shifting”

    Congratulations, you now know what it feels like to shift a manual Aveo.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    They have the same engine Ecotec

    Actually, no. The engine in the Aveo is not really a member of the Ecotec family; it’s a Daewoo-licensed design of and earlier version of what would eventually become the modern Ecotec.

    It’s related to the Ecotec in the same way that humans and lemurs have a common ancestor.

    The Aveo shares nothing except exterior styling cues with the Cobalt. If you sit on one, you’ll notice the very different—and not really bad—interior trim. Again, those trim pieces are nothing at all like what you’d find in the Cobalt, but very much like what you’d see in the other first-gen GM/Daewoo products like the Optra/Lacetti/Forenza and Epica/Verona. Don’t be surprised to see the in the Cruze, too.

    It’s a comfortable enough car with decent-fitting plastics and pretty good seats for the class, but that’s the end to it’s virtues, nor are those virtues above anything else in the class. Any everything else in the class has better mechanicals.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    But my BIL’s friend’s family came to a get-together stuffed in one of those Aveo things that made my Impala look downright palace-like.

    Now, to be fair to the Aveo, the back seat is actually quite good for two people, and does have better thigh support than the very low, very short cushion in the Impala. The front seats are not bad, either, because of that same high hop point.

    It’s still a tiny car, though. More than four people and their stuff is pushing the limit, but I would pick the Aveo over a Cobalt if I were renting. I’d take a Versa or Yaris over an Aveo, though.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Modern Ecotec or not they are the same engine just different countries who built them.

    No, they’re not. That’s like saying the Vortec truck engines and Corvette’s LS7 are the same engine because they all originate with the small-block Chevy and only differ where they’re made.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    PeregrineFalcon: “Go take one for a test drive – I guarantee they won’t give you any hassle other than trying to get you to move up to the Cobalt.”I read an interesting theory somewhere (maybe on TTAC) that GM purposely makes the Aveo bad to get consumers to move up to a more expensive, more profitable car after a test drive. The problem is, if this warped business model is true, it’s quite likely the vehicle that someone is going to buy when they pass on the Aveo will be a non-GM product.

    Another, similiar theory along the lines of the Aveo being an ‘Obama-mobile’ is to force Detroit to design and build cars that are such a miserable driving experience that it will drive consumers in the other direction, i.e., to seek alternate forms of travel, like public transportation (or riding a bicycle).

    As to the exorbitant price (considering what’s there), it should be mentioned that you do get a factory sunroof with the full-boat, Aveo 2LT. A sunroof is a relative rarity in the Asian bottom-feeder class of car (a sunroof can be had in the Focus and Cobalt).

  • avatar
    kewells

    so sorry you had experience the lovely roads of Western North Carolina in an Aveo! Not exactly the machine you take to Tail of the Dragon. If you think it’s bad in our mountains, can you imagine what this thing performs like in Colorado?

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Manual Trannys are all the same For Your Information. I have been driving Manual transmission since I was 12 and they all the same,
    as long you Don’t GRIND THEM EVERY TIME you change a Gear.

    If you drive Manual tranny 24/7 since the age of 12 you know what I am talking about.

    Bwaaaaahahahaha! OMG! That is funny!

    So the four speed in my 68 Mustang is the same as the 3 speed in my 58 Chevy is the same as the 5 speed in my wife’s 95 Cobra is the same as the 5 speed in my wife’s former 69 Porsche is the same as the 5 speed in my Mazda6…etc. I thought we were done with Beat, but lord bless his soul he’s come back to provide more entertainment. That’s way better than his claim that a stock, base Lancer whoops a Mazdaspeed3 around a road course.

    Now back to our regular programming.

  • avatar
    NickR

    I hate to say it, but sounds frighteningly similar to the Chevette. How about a combined curbside classic/comparison between a Chevette (if you can find one) and the Aveo…and a wheelbarrow just to give the Aveo a fighting chance. The Chevette sucked but from what I recall their engines ran forever (everything else just rusted around them). The Daewoo engine? We’ll see I guess.

    BTW the Suzuki Sprint was a better car too, they seemed to run a long time and got extraordinary mileage. GM is marching resolutely backward in the small car segment.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    I had an Aveo rental for a few days a few years ago, and it wasn’t completely terrible. I do remember the gas mileage being much worse than I had expected though. It was definitely not a good car, but it felt like an S-Class in comparison to the PT Cruiser rental I had immediately after

  • avatar
    Canucknucklehead

    The Cobalt and the Aveo are on completely different platforms. There are no parts in common with either car. The Aveo is a rebadged Deawoo Kalos and was designed before GM bought Daewoo out.

  • avatar
    Samir

    Epic review.

    In hell, everyone gets lifetime admission to the Nordschleife but is confined to a Chevrolet Aveo.

    But Jack, how does it compare to walking?

  • avatar
    vanderaj

    The Fit is not made in Japan. I know I’ve got one (a Honda Jazz VTi-s). They’re made in Thailand. AFAIK, that’s the only factory pumping them out.

    So far, no problems at all, and I’m getting 5.4 l/100 km (about 43 US mpg) on the highway, and 6.0 l/100 km around town (about 39 mpg).

    To compare the Aveo (which I had for nearly a month) and the 2009 Fit / Jazz is no comparison. The Fit/Jazz can easily carry twice as much (20.4 cu ft seats up, 55+ cu ft seats down) as the Aveo sedan (12.4 cu ft), it doesn’t rattle or shake, the doors open to 90 degrees, and every single seat (5) feels roomy and non-claustrophobic. The engine is buzzier than I would like, but at least it has pep, and we have all the mod cons – cruise, electric windows, A/C, ABS, airbags galore, alloy wheels, flappy paddle auto gear box (which is useless), steering wheel audio controls, steering that is tactile for an electric unit, and great vision all around.

    The Fit is everything the Aveo is not. Please don’t compare the two.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    Don’t forget that wonderful predecessor to the Aveo, the Geo/Chevrolet Metro. Bad enough that it was a tin box; in their wisdom the product planners at GM decided to chop off the roof, thus destroying ANY remaining structural integrity.

    As a car salesman once told me about the Metro, “If it’s one of the three-cylinder models with a stick, I always tell the customer that at any given time, one of those three pedals MUST be pushed ALL THE WAY to the floor.”

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    Even at 10 grand this car is HORRIBLE!!! HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE!!! Like someone else stated, I made the mistake of renting an Aveo on a 1 day 600 mile journey. I was heading to the Detroit Auto Show, which is about 300 miles from my house. Leave in morning, check out the show all day, head back at night. Why put the miles on my car, when I can rent an eco-box from Enterprise for $29 including taxes? Heck, they’ll even pick me up with the rental (for free). For $29 smackers, it’s not worth the wear & tear (even on my beater). Plus I’ll get better mileage than my 3.8 V6 Buick Regal. The rental will pay for itself!! So this was my thinking…

    So I get in the car, adjust all mirrors + drivers seats. Damn, this thing is uncomfortable. Pull out of the lot, slam the gas. Damn, this thing has NO power (But I figured that, assuming the MPG would negate this aspect). OK, hit the highway. Hit 70 MPH, the car begins to rattle and shake. At this point, I new I made a mistake. Not in renting a car, but renting the Aveo. Constant downshifting was the ‘norm, even on flat roads to keep up with traffic (trying to average 75 MPH). And let’s not even talk about the horrible brakes and suspension. OK, this sucks, but the main purpose of renting an eco-box was 35 MPG+. If I could score that, it will give me some satisfaction. Nope, ONLY 28 MPG. ALL FLAT HIGHWAY (Ohio turnpike)!!! And other than the one romp on the gas (just to see), I was feathering the loud pedal (or should I say hamster pedal). I couldn’t believe it! My Buick Regal (3.8 V6) got 31 MPG last year on this same trip. And I wasn’t even trying! Now given, I had the Aveo hatchback (sedan does a little better MPG), but still!!! There is NOTHING I can say, not one thing, that is positive about the Aveo. Everything sucked! From the radio, to the seats, to the rattles, to the brakes, to the handling, to the road noise, etc… EVERYTHING!!!

    If you’re going to buy a car like this, do yourself a favor. Spend another couple grand and get a base Civic. The resale value on the Civic will wash out any initial savings on the Aveo (and then some), and you’ll get a very competent/quality car.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    vanderaj: “The Fit is everything the Aveo is not. Please don’t compare the two.Ah, but the two have the same basic size/shape/layout (well, the Aveo5, anyway) and it’s exactly what GM is hoping the uninformed will think, i.e., “Gee, the Aveo is just like a Fit for less!”. Of course, one test drive will show even the most naive that they’re two completely different approaches in that as good as the Fit is, the Aveo is bad.

    Honestly, if GM had just incorporated one feature of the Fit into the Aveo5, most (if not all) of it’s sins could be forgiven. That one feature is the ‘magic’ folding rear seat which allows the Fit to have its amazing open space in the back. Unfortunately, such a design change would have been expensive and GM is obviously loath to invest such funds into a major redesign of the Aveo5.BuzzDog: “As a car salesman once told me about the Metro, “If it’s one of the three-cylinder models with a stick, I always tell the customer that at any given time, one of those three pedals MUST be pushed ALL THE WAY to the floor.””Now ‘that’s’ funny. I also wondered how the Aveo compared with the old, equally despised Metro.

  • avatar
    zora

    GM Retail prices are meaningless in our current world.

    The Aveo5 LS Sedan is listed at $11,098CDN here in Canada, incl. freight. I see them here all the time, I guess it is know-it-all college kids who are trying to be fashionable and “green” by buying a cute small car? Dunno.

    For comparisons sake, the entirely competant Cobalt LS is $12,598CDN. So for an extra $1500 or so they could be driving the other Chevrolet journalists love so much to hate. All you Cobalt haters take note, in its SS version, it is a Mazdaspeed3 beater, at least according to Road & Track.

    And for those smug Yaris fans (I have to admit the “S” or “RS” version are really funky), the Yaris is better than the Aveo, but according to Consumer Reports it is still one of the worst vehicles sold in the USA.

    http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2008/autos/0802/gallery.2008_cr_worst_cars/7.html

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    When it comes to the small domestic cars, I feel a lot like a domestic abuse victim. “This time, it’ll be different, I know it will…”

    I certainly believed it would be different when the Sunfire/Cavalier were introduced. The usual suspects reported the pair were finally a solid alternative to the Corolla and Civic. So I ran out and bought a mystic teal Sunfire GT. Initially it seemed to be a good deal. But over time, the cheap interior, noisy transmission, loose shifter, and overly light steering revealed a car that was not ready to be mentioned in the same sentence as the much better Japanese competitors.

    When the Aveo came out, I was again excited. Not because I wanted to purchase one, but because I really wanted to see GM compete. Competition is good. And when the domestics do well, it makes me smile. Then I read more about the Aveo. My smile faded. I believe the red flag was the advertised fuel economy. If there was ever a litmus test for quality engineering, it’s efficiency. Efficiency is far more elusive than power, quality interiors, and fit and finish. Efficiency is almost as hard to nail as a well sorted suspension. Perhaps steering feel is the most difficult.

    A car of the Aveo’s size and weight, with a 1.6 liter engine, should be returning mileage in the high 30′s if not low 40′s. Heck, if nothing else, GM should have given it some tall gears and called it a day. Then they could have claimed some highway mileage bragging rights. They sure took this approach with the Cobalt XFE.

    Instead, GM took the half-baked approach and did little to make the car appealing. I believe the entire company is truly too deep in the forest to see anything but trees. They’ll hit a detail or two, but they miss the rest. The overall message is lost, and so are customers, reputation, resale value, and Brand.

    Ford shares a similar guilt with the Focus. The first generation, in my humble opinion, was worthy. But they let the car die on the vine, with too few model year refinements. I’m a hatchback geek, so I thought the 5-door was really cool. And the SVT version added enough cache to make us Yankees think we were getting the good Ford stuff the Europeans enjoy.

    But this latest Focus, without a hatch, and the goofy chrome “F” vent on the side. What is that? I scratch my head and move on.

    And yet, like the abused, I keep believing. And every time I catch wind of a new small car from the domestics, I hope and I smile.

    Cruze anyone? How about a Fiesta?

  • avatar
    niky

    Part of the issue with the GMDAT four-banger is the ECU-programming. I know of one guy whose engine blew within the first month of ownership. The dealership tried to deny his warranty, saying that it’s his fault for using high octane gasoline. (now wait just a cotton-picking…)

    Others got MPG in the teens in traffic. GMDAT belatedly came out with a reflash to fix this… raising economy from incredibly bad to almost liveable. Didn’t cure the engines of their endemic lack of power.

  • avatar
    crush157

    I just thank goodness that there is no out of control Aveo coming at me as I am going through the Smoky Mountains this week.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    And for those smug Yaris fans (I have to admit the “S” or “RS” version are really funky), the Yaris is better than the Aveo, but according to Consumer Reports it is still one of the worst vehicles sold in the USA.

    I had a rental yaris (sedan, wtf? why?) once and thought it was terrible enough. Hard to imagine there are worse cars out there. A Fit OTOH, is fairly nice.

    Buying crappy cars for around $10k new defies logic. You can get used four wheeled transport for half that price which doesn’t feel like it’ll fall apart if you drive it too hard.

  • avatar
    niky

    The Yaris doesn’t fall apart if you drive it too hard… in fact, it can corner on its door handles pretty well.

    You’ll be scraping asphalt off them afterwards, but still…

  • avatar
    agenthex

    The Yaris doesn’t fall apart if you drive it too hard

    It seems to corner ok at lower speeds, but it was shaking and rattling badly at 70 on a slightly rough hwy. We used to have an early 90′s corolla that is a better car in just about every regard, even after many years of use (and abuse by me).

    I guess what really peeved me was how inferior it is to a jazz/fit, which I wouldn’t mind owning if I had to choose from that bracket. Expectations color perception so maybe if I go test an aveo for kicks with a 1-star mentally I would be pleasantly surprised.

  • avatar
    V6

    i booked a Pontiac G6 in Vancouver, hope i dont get anything less than that :(

    if i remember correct, Holden actually now owns a controlling percent of GM Daewoo so the new models coming out of there (ie Cruze) should be substantially better than anything Daewoo currently supplies the GM world with

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The Aveo5 LS Sedan is listed at $11,098CDN here in Canada, incl. freight. I see them here all the time, I guess it is know-it-all college kids who are trying to be fashionable and “green” by buying a cute small car? Dunno.

    If you are in school and especially if you’re related to a GM employee, the Aveo is literally the cheapest car you can buy. Stacking the Student and Employee discounts pushes the price of a base Aveo far, far below CA$10K. You cannot get a used, low-mileage Yaris (let alone a Civic or Corolla) for even close to that, and for many students it’s really nice to have a car with a warranty and no serious expenses for a few years.

    For comparisons sake, the entirely competant Cobalt LS is $12,598CDN. So for an extra $1500 or so they could be driving the other Chevrolet journalists love so much to hate. All you Cobalt haters take note, in its SS version, it is a Mazdaspeed3 beater, at least according to Road & Track.

    It’s worth noting that the Cobalt SS Turbo is very, very far removed from the base Cobalt LS. For someone who wants a sports compact, the Cobalt SS is a very good choice; for someone who wants A-to-B transport, not only do none of the Cobalt SS’s virtues trickle down to the base LS, the base Mazda3 (or Civic, or Focus) is a better car.

    Heck, you could argue the Aveo, in hatchback form, is a more versatile and better-packaged car than the Cobalt LS. Were I, for some reason, stuck with choosing between the two, I would definitely pick the Aveo hatch over the Cobalt LS sedan.

    And for those smug Yaris fans (I have to admit the “S” or “RS” version are really funky), the Yaris is better than the Aveo, but according to Consumer Reports it is still one of the worst vehicles sold in the USA.

    The Yaris sedan is, I’ll admit, a waste of iron unless you must have the most fuel-efficient sedan under a given price point. Even then, though, you are buying one of the most statistically reliable cars on the market, and one, and one with very good fuel economy, to boot.

    The hatch, on the other hand, is the car that enthusiasts everywhere seem to clamour for when they go off on their collective rant about how much better than a modern car a Geo Metro or sixth-or-earlier-gen Civic is: a basic car without much frills, under 2400lbs, still with decent power, and with a manual and a hatchback body. Again, you get a car that doesn’t break, uses next to no fuel and is actually kind of fun to drive due to the lack of mass.

    I don’t think the Yaris is, functionally, much better than the Aveo, but if I buy a car in this market I want it a) not to break on me and b) to get great mileage. That (and the awful stick-shift) is really the only place the Aveo falls down.

    The Fit and Versa are a cut above the rest of the class and it’s tough to compare them. The Fit’s chassis, functional space, base features and price are all much higher; the Versa is simply a bigger car all around. Both are what I’d hesitantly call “semi-premium subcompacts”, and you pay for that premium.

  • avatar

    I’ve never driven an Aveo so I can’t say anything about the driving experience, but a lot of people seem to think that if the general public only drove an Aveo they would see how crappy it is. Funny thing is I read a story online during the summer of $5 gas about people who were trading in their big SUVs for efficient small cars. Some stupid woman traded in her Suburban for an Aveo. Now just going from one to the other obviously shows that she had no real need for the Suburban, but the thing that really mad her mad about her new Aveo was the crank windows.

    So you see how moronic and pathetic people can be. She knew the car had crank windows when she bought it. None of that changed, and here she is complaining about them. She just wanted to jump out of the SUV bandwagon and onto the Small Car bandwagon.

    Some people really are stupid enough to buy Aveos, Sebrings, and Avengers (probably at close to retail) and not even shop around or research the purchase at at all.

  • avatar

    BEAT:

    Chill. I’ve deleted the offensive comment. As well as all of yours responding to it. If you’ve got a problem with a comment, email farago@ttac.com.

    TTAC’s flaming policy is clear, and does not play favorites. ANYONE who flames the site, its authors or fellow commentators faces a permanent posting ban.

    Period.

    [Not: check your email. Do not respond to this in the comments section.]

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    It seems to corner ok at lower speeds, but it was shaking and rattling badly at 70 on a slightly rough hwy. We used to have an early 90’s corolla that is a better car in just about every regard, even after many years of use (and abuse by me).

    That seems out of sorts. I’ve had Yarises and Echoes often, and while they’re pretty tinny, I wouldn’t have said they were unstable or shaking/rattling in an untoward fashion. I’d really suspect that the car you’d had suffered something pretty awful at the hands of a previous renter.

    Evaluating mechanical soundness in a rental is an iffy proposition. The cars are unloved and unrespected and often the worse for it. They’re a great way to judge seat comfort, though.

  • avatar
    akear

    Daewoo will strike again next year with the Cruze. Reviews have already been lukewarm.

    If GM can’t take the time to engineer and design a decent small car in America maybe they should get out of the car business altogether.

  • avatar
    cliveh

    I almost bought a new Aveo two years ago and am glad I didn’t. Up here in Canada, we’ve been the victims of GM’s experiments with Daewoo vehicles, having Aveos, Optras (aka Suzuki Forenza) and Epicas (aka Suzuki Verona) available to us for years. They’re cheap, good looking (except Aveo) inside and out, and sell well–Canadians are suckers for “cheap” cars.

    I was a sucker instead for a Chevy Epica (aka Suzuki Verona), another Daewoo product with dubious quality, and my first GM purchase ever (this is vehicle #19 in my lifetime).

    Haven’t had to replace engine or transmission yet–knock on plastic wood–but have paid for many other repairs that shouldn’t have been needed at only 60K miles.

    Have been reading a lot about the over-hyped Chevy Cruze, which is really the next-gen Daewoo Optra/Suzuki Forenza. Having experience with another Daewoo product’s quality–my Epica–I wouldn’t buy another GM product (Daewoo produced or “domestic” unless I got a deal on a super-duper extended warranty with the purchase.

  • avatar
    Becomethemedia

    Jeremy Clarkson road tests an Aveo – sort of – on last weeks Top Gear, oddly enough he doesn’t like it, go figure. Haven’t had the pleasure of driving one myself, so I can’t comment on what it’s like, but could it be any worse then a Dodge Caliber and it’s rubber band CVT I rented while in Toronto? Probably not.

    To me the worst part of this car is not its driving dynamics or lack thereof, but the fact it’s a sedan.
    It is well and truly fugly, whereas the hatch version looks okay.Same goes for the Toyota Echo, Yaris, Focus, Versa. These cars are made to be hatchbacks and I think the sedan versions are built to placate the US market.
    For the life of me I’ll never understand the hate on for hatchbacks in the US market,what set it off?
    I have reoccurring nightmares that Ford will take it’s wonderful Euro Fiesta, detune the engine, soften up the suspension, add 20 cup holders and make it a sedan only version for the N/A market.
    In Canada we love hatches but we’re usually stuck with what the US market dictates, which means less hatches, softer suspensions and slush boxes.
    In fact I would like to throw this question out to the best & brightest and get their opinion on this.
    Same goes for diesel power but that’s another rant for another day.

  • avatar
    niky

    Compared to any GMDAT, the Caliber is a properly good car. Except for the horrible gas mileage from the CVT… and the terrible interior plastics… and the stupid lack of headroom on a car that’s taller than a milk float… and…

    # psarhjinian :
    July 7th, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Evaluating mechanical soundness in a rental is an iffy proposition. The cars are unloved and unrespected and often the worse for it. They’re a great way to judge seat comfort, though.

    Like how Toyota foam on its cheaper products degrade with use? (Then again, Mazdas are like that, too).

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Becomethemedia: “For the life of me I’ll never understand the hate on for hatchbacks in the US market,what set it off?”I’m a little curious about this myself. It sounds like it would make a good TTAC editorial, i.e., “The Rise and Fall of the Hatchback”.

    Seems like in the seventies (starting with the Vega and Pinto), hatchbacks were all the rage with every manufacturer having one in their small car line-up. Now, I can only think of a few ‘true’ hatchbacks, and two of them are hybrids.

    It’s a shame because they can be quite a bit more practical than a sedan. The smaller the car, the more sense a hatch makes. One of the saddest hatchback eliminations was the Mazda6. Mazda cancelled the nice Mazda6 station wagon a few years ago, then axed the nearly as competent 5-door with the last new model.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    That seems out of sorts. I’ve had Yarises and Echoes often, and while they’re pretty tinny, I wouldn’t have said they were unstable or shaking/rattling in an untoward fashion. I’d really suspect that the car you’d had suffered something pretty awful at the hands of a previous renter.

    I might’ve exaggerated a bit on the shaking, the but the hard interior does seem to rattle. I’ve driven the prior gen Echo too, and the yaris is also slightly worse than that. The inside looks really cheap with mediocre build quality, not unlike that of other new toyotas (but cheaper of course).

    Engine/transmission had hardly any pickup, and engine noise was depressing.

    All in all, it feels like I just took out a detroit product. I didn’t expect BMW, but I did expect Toyota. The yaris kind of reminds me of an escort.

    For the life of me I’ll never understand the hate on for hatchbacks in the US market,what set it off?

    Probably similar to the irrational hatred of wagons due to their traditionally marketed demographics. Hatches: cheapass, wagons: boring square.

  • avatar
    blautens

    Only slightly off topic – how do so many people end up with Aveos as rentals? I tried to count how many rentals I’ve had and it’s somewhere between 100-200 (getting older…memory loss).

    I’m apparently the luckiest guy in the world – the worst car I got stuck with that I can remember was…a previous gen Ford Taurus (in it’s last, fleet only year).

    I have a 2009 Ford Flex SEL now from Enterprise (who I use almost exclusively)…$35 a day. They rent Aveos somewhere? I haven’t seen one in an Enterprise lot that I recall. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough?

    So people just pay and accept this?

  • avatar
    NickR

    Well, I guess there’s one bright spot. Sajeev might remember this…I am not sure how old he is. But there used to be a ‘fun’ racing league in Quebec where they raced on ice. Given the inevitable collisions, the vehicle of choice was used Chevette’s (just think, add ‘ice’ to the ‘driving slow cars’ fast expression). I am sure that supply has dried up, so when there are plenty of used Aveos on the used market, they can use those!

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    It’s doubly-shameful when you see Opel Corsas for sale in Mexico that are much better cars, on the whole.

    Mexico has a ton of attractive vehicles in this price point. VW has the Pointer family, Nissan has the Platina (Clio platform), Ford has the Fiesta, Peugeot has the 206 Classic, Toyota the Yaris, Honda the Fit. GM is probably the least attractive, selling the same rehashed Daewoo-platform garbage.

    My personal favorite of these is the Renault Clio, the Clio Sport 2.0 is a fantastic deal. Hope someone at Penske/Saturn realizes how attractive these vehicles are.

  • avatar
    dolorean23

    Despite its obvious absurdity, it was the last even vaguely rational thing I said. Bottom line: they were out of cars here at the Asheville airport. This was what they had left.

    Sounds to me your conversation at the Rental Counter went a little like this:

    Car Rental Agent: [cheerfully] Welcome to Marathon, may I help you?

    YOU: Yes.

    Car Rental Agent: How may I help you?

    YOU: You can start by wiping that f***ing dumb-ass smile off your rosey, f***ing, cheeks! Then you can give me a f***ing automobile: a f***ing Datsun, a f***ing Toyota, a f***ing Mustang, a f***ing Buick! Four f***ing wheels and a seat!

    Car Rental Agent: I really don’t care for the way you’re speaking to me. Let me see your rental agreement.

    YOU: I threw it away.

    Car Rental Agent: Well I guess you’re f***ed. All we have left is the Aveo automatic.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    I have no doubt that there are many rental car agents that take sadistic pleasure at watching the demoralized, dejected look on a customer’s face as they tell them the only vehicle left available for rent is an Aveo.

  • avatar
    volsfan0911

    3 years ago I had a similar misfortune with Enterprise and was given the keys to a Saturn Ion. I instantly understood that this collection of parts represented everything that was wrong with the US auto industry in one “car”. I finished up my assignment early and decided that Vegas wouldn’t be too bad of a road trip from Victorville and I could fly back home from LAS just as easily as ONT so off I went. Alas, I literally could NOT get that horrid POS to reach 100 mph and I’d have been terrified if it had made it any faster than 90 or so. 3 hours on the Rack (sorry – driver’s seat) left my back aching. So yes, you’re absolutely right – go drive a Rabbit or Civic or a Focus. These are all real automobiles and excellent for the money. I’d say the same for a Prius too. Why would I spend $30K on that appliance when the Jetta/Golf TDI is available for much less with a real transmission, real seats and the instruments in front of you as God intended?

    Great article above!

  • avatar
    dolorean23

    re: BuzzDog :
    July 6th, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Don’t forget that wonderful predecessor to the Aveo, the Geo/Chevrolet Metro. Bad enough that it was a tin box; in their wisdom the product planners at GM decided to chop off the roof, thus destroying ANY remaining structural integrity.

    Amen again. I had the unfortunate experience to rent a 4 door, 3 spd automatic Metro way back in 2000 and found it, quite expectedly, the most frightening car I’ve ever driven. First, it was aerodynamic like a twinkie, tall and narrow perched on four tiny wheels (12″s) Second, the motor produced barely enough beans to push its little ass out of the parking lot which leads to the Third, merging into freeway traffic. Absolutely terrifying. Nothing like the feeling of seeing a Semi jake-brake itself because this crackerbox cannot achieve 55 mph in any length of time. Although I will say, I gotta love the little Geo, er Chevy, for trying. It sure tried to get the hell outta the way, it just couldn’t. Second gear and the right foot through the floor made all kinds of noise, but little action. Added to the misery was the sub-par seating, very hard plastic dash and the ridiculous option of A/C; like I needed that on to suck needed HP away from momentum.

    The Aveo is a much better car than the Metro, hands down. However, the Metro could be bought brand new for less than $9K and it never pretended to be anything special, nor did it try to compete with the Honda Civic or Toyota Tercel.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    Wow. Lots of hate for the Aveo. I hope I get to drive one soon – just to see if it is as bad as the crew here says it is. I’m a dyed in the wool small car guy. I like hatches and wagons and don’t get the desire for a big SUV or truck if a person doesn’t need the space or have cash falling out of their pockets for gasoline. I have driven some REALLY basic wheels over the years.

    You know Chevy would have had a best seller if they had put a GOOD engine into this car and some sound deadening under the interior. Imagine a QUIET small car that would last and deliver really good mileage (say 40-ish). Alot of people like me would overlook it’s other shortcomings. But they didn’t.

    They seem to not really want to sell that car very much… Sort of like other GM products that get no advertising…

    Perhaps the Aveo is a product they expect folks who are retiring flat worn out compacts with rust through and a myriad of problems to buy and enjoy. In other words the Aveo is light years ahead of what they had before and they did not cross shop those other brands b/c they are not ‘merican or b/c somebody told them that those import cars are expensive to buy and keep up. I still hear that excuse and I have to report my imports have been cheap to repair and the one had required very few repairs in the first place. (180K miles and counting).

    Perhaps the Aveo was aimed at people who shopped for car payments prices and had low credit scores???

  • avatar
    speedshark

    Yea, I had the severe misfortune of driving one of these pieces of junk last year when my wife and I were visiting family in Denver. I chuckle now at the memory of trying to get this thing through the Colorado Rockies! My sister-in-law was in front of us driving a Mazda 3, and each time we went up even a slight grade, we immediately fell behind, losing her over crests and around curves a total of 8 times in a 25 minute trip!! My very first car was a 11 year old 1983 Dodge Colt (please don’t laugh). That car (which would LITERALLY slow down if you used the cigarette lighter!) had WAY more power than this piece of shit, and I think it had about the same amount of space (which isn’t much at all). I could get better acceleration on my nephew’s tricycle!! GM should be ashamed for putting their bowtie on this scooter. Come to think of it, GM should just be ashamed of their existence in general….

  • avatar
    TopJimmy5150

    I think Jack needs to research a little better on the history of the Chevette. 
    The Chevette was meant to be a step below the 1970s Chevy Monza.  It was created as a joint venture between Izusu (I-Mark), Holden of Australia, Chevy and Opel. 

    It wasn’t replaced by the 3 cylinder Sprint…it was replaced by the 4 cylinder Chevy Spectrum (a rebadged Isuzu I-Mark) which eventually became the Geo Spectrum.  The Sprint was created as a FE leader and is a rebadged Suzuki Swift.  The Sprint became the Geo/Chevy Metro which is where this piece of junk is slotted.   I had the unfortunate pleasure of renting one of these recently and it was the worst car I have ever driven.  Luckily the airbag light came on and I protested driving it and Enterprise gave me a Nissan Versa…much better car.

  • avatar
    bikerboyrr

    I actually plunked down money to own one of these, and I’ve got to say it’s not that bad. The deal was really good; the car is fully loaded, with automatic. Once broken in you can easily speed up on the freeway. Mine goes 80 with ease, doesn’t rattle or have wind noise. Even the paint has less orange peel than my Mercedes. Yes, it’s softly sprung but that’s a benefit because our area has lots of potholes and grooved pavement. And the bottom line is that the drive off the lot depreciation on the Benz equals the total cost of the Aveo.

  • avatar

    I had one as a loaner.  It was awful!

    Pros: The interior room is drastically better than larger compact cars like the Focus, Civic, Mazda 3 and Corolla.  The trunk isn’t much smaller either.  The rear defroster works (so my hands won’t get cold when I have to get out and push).

    Cons: Either you floor it, or it doesn’t move, no idea if the brakes will work, driving over 35mph is absolutely a terrifying experience, the front defroster blows more in the driver’s face than on the front windshield, the door locks, when locked are so low in the car you need really long nails or a tool to open them.  And you can buy a 1987 Chevrolet Celebrity that is rusted out and it will last longer and still be a much nicer car, despite all the rust.  Oh, and I clocked the gas mileage to only 20mpg too.  Nothing works in this car as advertised.

    Most cars in this price range are just as bad. If you are completely uneducated, insist on buying new, and won’t move up to at least a Civic or something then I would recommend a Versa which is probably the only acceptable car of the Yugo-priced compacts.


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