By on March 22, 2012

It’s not often that automakers go to the trouble of bringing a car to Canada, but refrain from selling it in the United States. With one tenth the population and different homologation laws than the United States, the costs rarely make it worthwhile for automakers to import unique products to the Canadian market.

 Vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz B-Class or Nissan X-Trail are exceptions to the rule – compact utility vehicles that are fuel efficient and priced in the lower end of their segments. General Motors originally intended to sell the Chevrolet Orlando in the United States, but according to GM Canada, American engineers wanted to include features like knee airbags to help the Orlando meet an obscure American crash test regulation, but the cost of this change would have made the venture unprofitable. Since the vehicle already met every other unified North American standard, it was an easy choice to sell it in Canada, where higher fuel prices and a love of smaller vehicles would make it an attractive choice.

Minivans may be considered “uncool” by some, but they’ve yet to lose their luster up here. The Dodge Grand Caravan is one of Canada’s best-selling vehicles, and starts at the bargain basement price of $19,995 – identical to the Orlando. The similarities end there, as the Orlando is more a re-incarnation of the first generation Odyssey than a successor to the dreadful Uplander minivan that most of us have erased from our memories.

Like the old Odyssey, the Korean-built Orlando has conventionally hinged doors, a 4-cylinder engine and a smaller footprint than most traditional minivans. The Orlando, at 183 inches long, is nearly two feet shorter than a Grand Caravan and is 669 lbs lighter. The Orlando’s lack of heft means it feels like a big Cruze behind the wheel, with the same well-weighted but somewhat vague steering and relatively car-like driving dynamics. A 2.4L Ecotec engine and 6-speed automatic transmission are employed here, and while they feel slightly taxed in this application, the Orlando has enough power to get out of its own way. Pity that the GM 6-speed automatic still feels as if it’s on a 5-second delay to catch any instances of vehicular obscenity, as it spoils what could otherwise be a well-matched powertrain. Fuel economy around town was about 23 mpg, or 1 mpg better than GM’s city rating (supposedly it will return 34 mpg on the highway). A manual transmission is available, but the market for this unit is probably smaller than those Canadians who favor privatized healthcare or more lax gun laws.

The cabin of our tester was utilitarian, with all-black fabric and black plastic surfaces throughout our 2LT tester. The dash is basically identical to the Cruze, and all the controls will be familiar to anyone who has been in a recent GM product. One neat feature is a hinged stereo faceplate that can flip upwards to reveal a hidden storage compartment – great for cell phones, iPods and other gadgets. The seat fabric appears to be some kind of easy-to-clean material rather than plush cloth, likely a concession to owners who will want to clean up spilled apple juice rather than luxuriate in some fine imported fabric.

What the Orlando adds on the “car” side of the equation, it lacks on the “utility vehicle” side. There is no fancy stow-and-go seating arrangement like the Caravan, just conventional folding seats in the second row. The third row is very tight and suitable only for small kids. Owners would frankly be better off folding them flat, which opens up a much larger cargo area that would easily swallow up a couple suitcases.

Sales of the Orlando haven’t been that brisk, with the Mazda5 outselling it by over 100 units so far in 2012, and the Caravan comprising 60 percent of the total minivan market. The Caravan’s Stow ‘N Go seats, and the ability to swallow multiple hockey bags (thanks to the Caravan’s larger size) and identical pricing – both base models start at $19,995, and a Caravan with Stow ‘N Go starts at $23,995, while our Orlando 2LT starts at $500 less. The Orlando’s car-like nature made it easy to park and maneuver in the tight confines of downtown Toronto, and was able to haul myself, 4 friends and a dog around with ease on a weekend jaunt to a local park. But with most minivan buyers residing in the suburbs and ferrying multiple kids to school, hockey and all points in between, it’s easy to see why a traditional minivan may suit their needs better than the Orlando, despite the Chevrolet’s merits.

 

 

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

80 Comments on “Review: Chevrolet Orlando...”


  • avatar
    mcarr

    This is a vehicle I would actually consider buying were it offered here. I need this kind of seating capacity and getting over 30 mpg on the hwy would be a huge selling point to me.

    • 0 avatar
      phlipski

      Go drive the Mazda 5 – it’s almost identical to the chevy. – seats 6, almost identical weight and horsepower, smaller then normal minivans – great driving feel, 28 mpg highway, and it starts at $19.5k.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Nothing says, “Meh!” like a Korean Odyssey wannabe….

    Even if they DID offer it in the states, to borrow a phrase from our former esteemed affendi Mr. Farago…Americans would be lined up none-deep to get their hands on one of these…even when $5 gas comes.

    • 0 avatar
      johnhowington

      I guess the 4 cylinder shortage of Equinox flew past you. It would sell, quite well in the USA, but as usual GM management is asleep at the wheel.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        “USA, but as usual GM management is asleep at the wheel.”

        Or, possibly, they’re trying to sell us what they want to sell — rather than what we want to buy.

        I guess it worked wonderfully until some foreign automakers breaks ranks, but it took decades for the big-3 to figured out that it had already happened…

  • avatar
    Russycle

    With a clutch and the imminent 2.5 liter motor, I could see this as a replacement for our Element…if I lived further north.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick

      Absolutely…with a 197 hp 2.5L Ecotec and a manual (even a 5 speed) this could be *gasp* somewhat fun and serve as the spiritual heir of the wagons a lot us grew up in.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Excellent photography, but it can’t help the fact it’s a desperately DOWDY-looking wagon. The corporate face looks too big for the rest of the body, and the monotone interior is pretty mirthless too. I wish they’d hewed closer to the 2008 concept, which had a much more athletic, confident stance. I like the concept of a smaller minivan, but the pre-Nagare Mazda5 is much better-looking. I know, looks aren’t the point…or are they?

    http://www.netcarshow.com/chevrolet/2008-orlando_concept/

  • avatar
    jimbobjoe

    There is no particular reason why you couldn’t buy one up there and bring it to the US. (I see that having the vehicle titled to one other person helps tremendously.) Obscure US regulations aside, if it’s legal in Canada, it’s typically legal in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      mcarr

      The speedo in km/hr would drive me insane, but otherwise it’s a good idea.

      • 0 avatar
        asapuntz

        The Malibu Maxx I rented in Toronto (7 years ago?) had switchable Metric / US units – you could change while driving, making the speedo needle jump while holding a constant (non-zero) speed!

        Convenient for the manufacturer and customers who cross the border, but I guess there’s not much reason to use that instrumentation for Korean-built cars going to Europe & Canada.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        If you notice that most newer GM cars don’t have a scale denominator on the speedometer face. Most GM cars have a place in the DIC (Driver Information Center) setup where you can switch from MPH to KPH. You can do it on the fly, even.

        The Canadian market cars have a scale that runs to 220 (US market cars’ scales only go to 140). My daughter bought an used Canadian-market Saturn Aura with such a speedo. When she was showing her friend her car, he was amazed to find that her car went 220. She didn’t tell him for several minutes that the car really didn’t go 22O MILES PER HOUR…

      • 0 avatar
        Rental Man

        The GM and Chrysler products that usually came from Canada had very little issue going from miles to KM. Honda Civic is a breeze as well.

        When we would have to rent a Canadian car (ton’s of issues-rather let them sit. Most customers hate them) The only issue is that at least in a GM car the passanger airbag on/off is reversed to the US system. In the US the passanger light is on untill someone over 50 Lb. sits down. Then it turns off. Canadian cars would light up to tell us the bags were working. Thanx. I had to RTFM. I will never get that time back.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        IIRC I once drove a 91 digital readout Cadillac which had a button to literally light up a different part of the readout for KM/hour and speedo miles in KM.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @jimbobjoe- There is a particular reason it can’t be sold here.
      It is not certified for U.S. sale.

      Emissions certification alone costs on the order of $500,000. This is a significant hurdle to justify a low volume application.

      MVSS (Safety) certification is an additional issue, and often a complete show stopper.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        Not to set off any tinfoil hats, but it would be nice to agree on a ‘North American’ safety/emissions standard to mitigate these sort of issues. I believe I once read when new models are emissions certified there is a ’50 car standard’ they strive for so they can sell in California, but its happened where it was too expensive/not possible and they choose a lesser ’45 state standard’ and only sell in those markets. Maybe its the engineer in me, but cross region/country standards are pretty important, esp with software development. Granted there are sovereignty issues at play but somehow I doubt the Canadians would allow an ‘unsafe’ vehicle to be sold in their country, and based on the article it sounds like nitpicking a knee airbag (?) killed the car for the US market. If an automaker chooses to go the extra mile and offer 100 airbags and tow the safety line for marketing let them have at it, but set a reasonable standard below the ridiculous, otherwise its just inefficient.

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    With just a 2.4l four, this vehicle is going to be a dog in everyday driving. Give credit where credit is due though for creating an excellent interior design that beats the garbage from Honda and Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      toplessFC3Sman

      I can’t imagine its any worse than the 4-cyl Equinox, especially the AWD version, since that’s a larger, heavier car, and those are selling especially well.

      That being said, I don’t think it’d do very well in the US since vehicles like the Mazda5 etc sell rather poorly. Any sales it would get would likely mostly come at the expense of the equinox too, which is a little bit more expensive.

      Very “meh” styling and a rear end that is so bland & generic don’t help either

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      For what it’s worth, I don’t think 4-cyl would kill this. I drove a friend’s 05 Tucson with the 2.0L 138 hp engine and it was fine. That felt like a pretty heavy car to me, but didn’t make me feel unsafe in the least. Sure you had to kick it down to pass, but it was rarely needed and with planning you can accomplish it.

      We’ve been spoiled with cars that have a good deal more horsepower than anybody will ever need.

      • 0 avatar
        chiefmonkey

        One thing Honda Toyota and those other companies have done right is make 4 cylinder engines for years, I mean, they’ve pretty much perfected the 4 cylinder engine and transmission. Based on my experience with a 4 cylinder Buick Regal, GM hasn’t quite gotten there yet, but they’ll get there

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    Obscure US regulations? Come-on , GM is an american car company. Shouldn’t they be well versed in every single american regulation? It’s not like they’re trying to break into the Iranian car market or something. Sounds like somebody dropped the ball big time at GM.

    GM’s execution this year has been disastrously bad. The management needs to wake the heck up.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      They’re probably defending the sales of more expensive vehicles that do a worse job of solving the same problem…

    • 0 avatar
      Buckshot

      Us-regulations is just a halfassed try to have a trade barrier. If they really wanted free trade and safety, they could adopt the European rules.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        That’s very true. European specs are perfectly reasonable 1st-world standards. Allowing vehicles that meet US *or* European specs to be sold in the US really would make our car market serve consumers better. Make it contingent upon the EU adopting a reciprocal rule, and you have a winner.

        But it would also remove the trade barriers that our car industry depends on, and money drives politics (even moreso than a few years ago), so it’ll never happen.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        What trade barriers exist for the benefit of the US carmakers?

        I believe the real answer is there are none.

        In fact, the only favoritism that exists is to benefit the Germans luxury carmakers, the “German Exemption” from fuel economy standards.

        US makers have the same burdens to certify compliance with the US standards that anyone else faces.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @doctor olds: “What trade barriers exist for the benefit of the US carmakers?”

        I was referring to emissions and safety standards. The US and EU standards are different enough that meeting both is hard, but my opinion is that the European standards are perfectly reasonable.

        If a company could sell the EXACT same car in the US and Europe, then the trade would be much freer.

        For instance, I could buy a diesel-powered Ford Focus or the very practical Vauxhall Zafira MPV that my in-laws rented in the UK.

        Another trade barrier is the restriction on the import of used cars. In the US, used cars have to be 25 years old to be imported from elsewhere — effectively restricting international trade in used cars to antiques. Of the countries I’ve visited, the USA is the only one that really has this rule — it looks like protectionism all the way.

        Having been to the UK, the cars there were perfectly reasonable. I’m not a fan of driving on the left side of the road, but the safety and emissions standards were quite reasonable. They just were Not Invented Here.

        P.S. All of the vehicles that I mentioned are made by subsidiaries Ford and GM — they’re just not sold here. Presumably the reason Ford and GM don’t sell these vehicles here is a mix of the engineering cost and defending sales of more profitable vehicles from smaller/cheaper vehicles that solve the buyer’s problem just as well. Ford’s One Ford strategy is a big step in the right direction.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @Luke42-We would have more products available here if regulations were commonized. My only point is that these reg’s are an equal burden to every maker, not a benefit to the American companies.

        I was amazed at the diversity of automotive products on the road in Australia on a visit a few years ago. I wondered why Toyota, for example, offered more body styles there, than here, given the market is about 1/15th the size. I was told they tend to accept certification in other markets and do not have a rigorous domestic certification process.

        I agree with you. It would be great if we had more diversity here, too.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        Agreed Doc Olds, I saw some Hondas in Ireland with much more attractive styling than the beige-mobiles sold here. Even if they couldn’t bring them over as diesels, the styling alone might tempt me away from my domestic auto loyalties.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Is this the same as the Opel Meriva?

    • 0 avatar
      W.Minter

      No, Zafira. Built at the Bochum plant – not for export. Which leads to:
      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/gm-calculations-plant-closures-at-opel-will-take-a-lot-of-time-and-a-lot-of-money/#comments

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    I’m all for small vans. I loved my 96 Mercury Villager. That being said, the current Grand Caravan is so good, real world mileage included, I would have a difficult time purchasing an Orlando over the Grand Caravan.

    • 0 avatar
      200k-min

      “That being said, the current Grand Caravan is so good”

      Seriously? Maybe on a price point but I have not met a soul that hasn’t endlessly complained about the shotty quality of Chrysler minivans.

      • 0 avatar
        sckid213

        The freshened current-gen Grand Caravans are actually indeed pretty impressive. I had one as a rental (asked for a midsize, got a minivan, yeah dunno) and was very impressed by the interior quality and overall solid feel of the van. The Pentastar engine was pleasant to drive as well. The difference between post and pre refreshed vans is night and day.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        I haven’t met anyone with the 08/09 and newer bodystyle so I can’t comment, but based on personal experience I can confirm the craptastic quality of the 90s and mid 00s Caravans. I can also say when I used to work the Manheim auctions Chrysler minivans over 30K miles were generally something no one wanted, the assumption was they would be simply destroyed inside and out beyond a few years and X amount of miles. Most seemed to end up at ‘buy here pay here’ lots three quarters used up purchased by the poor who made the mistake of one child too many.

      • 0 avatar
        Burnout

        I’ve owned three Mopar vans (two Grand Caravans and currently own a Chrysler T&C)…I’ve had no issues with mine and I’ve met plenty of other Chrysler/Dodge owners who say the same.

        Fact is I’ve owned a slew of Mopar products over the years (including other makers like Mercury, VW, Pontiac, Mitsu, and Honda) and the Mopar products fair as well as any of them in the quality department. Worst car I’ve owned in the quality department, and all have been bought new, was my VW Jetta.

        So ’200k-min’ you can start of list of people who don’t think that Chryslers are shoddy.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Considering this vehicle is far more similar to the Kia Rondo than either the Mazda5 or the base Caravan, I’m surprised the Rondo’s not mentioned in the review at all.

    Interesting point: unlike the Rondo, you can get the Orlando with a stick.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      The Kia Soul may be even more similar than the Ronodo. At least appearance-wise.

      I actually really like the Kia Soul, but the fact that light-duty towing is contraindicated in its operation manual cost Kia the sale. It’s an award-winning tow-car in the UK and my brother owns one and swears that his could easily tow my 4′x8′ utility trailer (2000lb axle) back from the hardware store — but I didn’t want to have to fight to keep my warranty after doing that. Instead, I bought the cheapest used kid-friendly tow-vehicle I could find. My 10-year-old Escape was so cheap that I don’t need a warranty.

      • 0 avatar
        Rental Man

        People cry at TTAC about their missing cheap wagon. If anyone compares the price and specs of the 2012 Kia Soul to any wagon they will find the Soul has more room and MPG then they expected. I almost find the Soul as the reason why no one is rushing their small wagons to the US. Cruze and Focus wagon might run into a value problem.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        I’m not knowledgeable about the underpinnings of the Soul, but speaking as a somewhat wagon aficionado, the traditional wagon is simply a mid-size/full-size car with the wagon grafted on, giving extra room but still the car handling and mileage. The Soul strikes me as a B-segment car reminiscent of the first gen xB, just seems to small and odd looking to be considered by the wagon crowd.

        You bring up an interesting point thought about the Soul (and its stablemates) preventing a Cruze/Focus wagon in the US. I never thought of this, and although there is a certain crowd which would never snap up a Soul or its ilk over a wagon, the general public might think differently. I think this is why GM did bring over the CTS Wagon first to tempt the aficionado crowd and test the waters. Perhaps if its ‘hip’ we could see something similar from the Malibu/Cruze or Focus/Fusion in more utilitarian fashion. I do recall the last attempt at a full size ‘hip’ wagon was the Charger cousin Dodge Magnum which briskly sold well for about twenty minutes until the 300 twins came out.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    This looks like what I was shopping for when I settled for my Escape.

    If I can get a towing package (<2000lbs), it’d be a perfect fit for my needs. Put the powertrain from the Cruze diesel in it, and I’d pretty much have to buy it.

    It doesn’t matter what you call it. It’s more wagon than minivan, and that’s what I like about it. I’m guessing it’s only people as old as Bob Lutz who think that calling something a wagon is a curse. For my generation, calling something a minivan carries those same accursed connotations, because our parents drove minivans. (I do respect the utility of a minivan, and won’t hesitate to drive one when I need that utility.)

    • 0 avatar
      mcarr

      “Put the powertrain from the Cruze diesel in it, and I’d pretty much have to buy it.”

      One of these would definitely be in my driveway.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        Agreed, I think my long-in-the-tooth Saturn SL could be replaced by one of those mythical diesel Cruzes. While noting the Cruze’s overall superior engineering and performance, whats the real difference between then… both gas powered, both decent fuel economy, but its not as if the Cruze is going to net me 40MPG city over the Saturn’s 25. Why go into debt unless your going to hit a home run?

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    “The third row is very tight and suitable only for small kids. Owners would frankly be better off folding them flat, which opens up a much larger cargo area that would easily swallow up a couple suitcases.”

    Damn shame we had to fold those kids flat, Marge.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “The third row is very tight and suitable only for small kids”

      That’s actually perfect for my wife’s purposes. She was interested in the Prius V because of exactly this kind of a 3rd row, and stopped being interested as soon as she realized that the US version is 2-rows only.

      We have a toddler (and are thinking of having another). We occasionally haul adult passengers, so putting the kids in the back makes grandma and grandpa more comfortable — and would provide extra cargo-space day to day.

      I don’t understand why everyone is so obsessed about the comfort of adult passengers in the 3rd row. People who want that should get a regular (mini)van. If not, get an actual mini-vehicle with 3 rows. Simple!

      My wife now joins me in mourning the fact that nobody makes the car we’re looking for. There are plenty vehicles that solve our problem, just none that solve it optimally.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        @Luke42 http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lrfseeNWTi1qfd5a4o1_500.jpg

        “anti-joke chicken”

      • 0 avatar
        Slab

        My sister needed space for 7 adult-sized passengers for carpooling when my niece entered junior high. Unfortunately, teens don’t fit in those jump seats, and they need storage for 6 backpacks. So, yeah, her choices were pretty limited – minivan (ick) or Escalade-like vehicle (too much $$). By chance, they rented a Ford Flex on vacation and discovered their next car.

      • 0 avatar
        BobinPgh

        Well, maybe it would help with car choices if you guys STOP HAVING KIDS. Maybe you should stop thinking about the “One on the way”.

      • 0 avatar
        Rental Man

        Mazda5 is what you want. Some don’t like it. 2WD Toyota RAV4, Mitsubishi Outlander & Kia Sorento have tiny 3rd rows in their SUV’s. Hyundai had itin the Sante Fe and the older Highlander was “blessed” with this as well. Thing is, Safety. I am aware very few collisions hit the rear hard. I still don’t like it when the rear of a seat touches the rear window. Too close for me. Get me a real Minivan. All now have FWD and 250-300 HP and ton’s of room they are the way to go.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @Rental Man: The Mazda really 5 is what I want, except that towing with it is Not Recommended. You can get a hitch for it, but I didn’t want to fight that fight for warranty and with law-enforcement people who may be looking for reasons to give me a rough time.

        @BobinPgh: I have one kid. Looking to have 1-2 more in a deliberate and planned way over the next 5-10 years. Kids are far more important than cars, and my transportation choices are reflecting that. If you want to deliver the “you’re having too many kids” lecture, you’ll probably want to start with VanillaDude.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        +1 Bob. Hehe stop having kids. Speaking as a unmarried but involved person with no children, if there ever was a child, its going to be ‘Honey here’s your new Panther’. Room in the rear for booster seats, half decent fuel economy, durability, excellent crash standards, and cheap to boot. I would even go so far to explicitly put in the vows ‘Love, honor, and obey and never ask to drive a minivan or CUV, only real cars’ :)

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Thanks for the clarification, Dan. That part of the review came across as a little odd to me, seeming to suggest that owners universally don’t actually need a third row as much as they need cargo space. But I now see that Derek was simply proposing a novel – though maybe a touch cruel – solution to the problem of needing extra room while maintaining seating capacity.

      But what’s with the joke chicken? Did I miss something?

  • avatar
    ajla

    It looks like a Kia Borrego.

    And, nice job Photoshopping the snow and igloos out of your review photos.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    “The third row is very tight and suitable only for small kids. Owners would frankly be better off folding them flat…”

    My kids don’t fold flat; I’ve tried several times. Easier to tie them to the roof rack.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Well there goes that idea. Fortunately some quick goat thinking always yields a solution. How’s their BMI, gottacook? Maybe Derek’s proposal would still work for skinny kids.

  • avatar
    YYYYguy

    I’d put this in the same class as the Mitsubishi Expo.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    When I first saw the photo I thought- OK another compact SUV. It didn’t occur to me that anyone would lump this in with a Dodge Caravan. Is the dividing line between SUV and minivans really so slim now? What exactly differentiates this car from any other compact SUV anyways? It’s got a long, non-sloping hood and hinged doors. shouldn’t that disqualify it as a minivan contender?

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Chevy Orlando? Do the good people of Jacksonville feel snubbed? Will GMC get the Tampa? Will Buick get the Sarasota version?

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    That’s quite a toney Orlando!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Orlando_and_Dawn

  • avatar
    MZ3AUTOXR

    Say this was brought to the US

    It would compete against the Mazda5 and the upcoming Ford C-Max, both of which offer much more utility with different seating configurations.

    And that market niche is small enough that two mini minivans might be one too many vehicles.

  • avatar
    Pleiades

    In Korea, this car comes with an LPG or diesel engine (but I have yet to see/hear a diesel version on the road). The LPG version makes the Orlando quite a tempting choice in Korea since LPG is approximately half the cost of gasoline (gasoline is around $2.00/Liter).

  • avatar
    geozinger

    It sounds like this might be roughly the same size as the original T-115 Chrysler minivans? I would have to Google the dimensions of each and see. I loved the size of the original Chrysler minivans, I would like to have one again. As we’ve discussed on this board before, the name minivan now is a misnomer.

    As close as I am to Canada, no Canucks have ever seen fit to drive one over to Western Michigan… It looks like this would be a great size for what I want, a daily hauler that has enough room for my whole drum rig when I’m gigging. Right now my choices are a small SUV or something like a HHR or a PT Cruiser, Soul, Element, xB. Most of which are not to my liking.

    Oh, Canada…

  • avatar
    hriehl1

    I don’t see anything this thing does that my 2012 Mazda5 doesn’t also do and probably a bit better.

    2012 Mazda5 Sport (stripper model) with manual transmission: 29+ MPG since I bought it 3 months ago (I drive gently and have a leisurely country commute giving optimal MPG). Sliding doors are a BIG advantage over hinged. Made in Japan. Clutch and tranny are very good. I paid $17,400 before TTL. Handles very well (for what it is).

    Ford has cancelled the 7-seat C-Max and are bringing the 5-seater only. Vans this size make great sense for a family with 2 kids. For 3 kids though I’d go full-size minivan.

    We drove full size minivans for 20+ years beginning in 1989… while all our friends drove their expensive honkin’ SUVs, we just paid less and got better mileage in a better family vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      missinginvlissingen

      As a fellow Mazda5 Sport (stickshift!) owner, I mostly agree. But there are two things I can see:
      1. Highway gas mileage is better for the Orlando
      2. Orlando’s styling is more conventional. (Personally I find it stubby and truckish — especially the front end — where the Mazda looks like a tall wagon, sleeker and carlike.)
      3. Mazda’s driving position is cramped for tall folks. Not sure about Orlando.

      But the Mazda has these important advantages:
      1. It’s surprisingly fun to drive, with great steering feel.
      2. Visibility out the Mazda is pretty good; but those interior photos of the Orlando show some pretty awful blind spots.
      3. Sliding doors on the Mazda. Nothing makes in&out for people or cargo easier.
      4. Third-row seating in the Mazda is tight, but average adults can sit comfortably back there for short trips.

      Given a choice and based on the info in this review, I’d probably stick with the Mazda, but it would be nice to have more of these reasonably-sized 3-row vehicles available in the US. Today’s minivans are just too big for most of my driving.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    I’ll take an Xb over this any time, cheaper and more reliable with its proven Camry engine.

  • avatar
    Broo

    Like the Mazda 5, Dodge Journey or Kia Rio, it’s an excellent vehicle for those whose kids are over 6 years old. Me & my wife were shopping last year and considered this segment. However, when considering all the stuff we have to carry around with 3 kids under 5 years old, the choice wasn’t hard to make. If you use the 3rd row, there is about 2 cubic ft of space available in the trunk. We bought a used real minivan, we can afford the little extra fuel.

  • avatar
    claytori

    An interesting bit of differing regulations- Canada has never required passive restraints (air bags). We got them because they were required in the Excited States of Paranioa. Now the market demands them.

  • avatar
    colin42

    I rented one of these when i was in the UK last October for 2 weeks. This one had the same 1.8 ltr engine as the US Cruze with a manual transmission. I was looking forward to driving as I’m a fan of this type of vehicle and often thought the Orlando would be on my list if I could buy it in the States. The reality of this UK specs left me disappointed. The Engine was under powered (even by European standards) for this size of car and had to be revved hard to get it moving. The suspension was too soft resulting in much body roll when taking roundabouts at speed and also resulting in my testing the ease of cleaning the interior thanks to my 2 year old son. Talking of the interior from the driver’s seat it was comfortable. The compartment behind the stereo contained a usb port and allowed simple control of my I-pod from the steering wheel controls – no complex syncing
    The styling was bland & square with a front nose that was a foot too long.
    The 2nd row had a limited amount of lateral adjustment and the angle of the back could be adjusted to accommodate in the 3rd row my father-in-law for a brief journey. I felt more it more spacious that the 3rd row in a Chevy Traverse.
    The fuel economy left everything to be desired. Over 3 tanks of very expensive gas I averaged ~ 28mpg (imperial) ~ 22.5mpg(us) – sure I wasn’t hyper milling more a lot of cruising at 75 mph.
    Based on my experience I don’t think we’re missing much by it not being on sale in the US – The Mazda5 is better in almost every way

  • avatar
    BobinPgh

    Well, maybe it would help with car choices if you guys STOP HAVING KIDS. Maybe you should stop thinking about the “One on the way”.

  • avatar
    Lemmy-powered

    I’ve seen quite a few of these around lately, and I have to say they are uglier than I thought they’d be.

    There’s an air of cheapness, with a smattering of tinniness, topped with a garnish of oddball proportion.

    They just don’t look appealing. And I was hoping they would.

  • avatar
    DPerkins

    Jeremy Clarkson recently savaged the Orlando in a Toronto Star review:

    ” Built in South Korea from the same platform that props up the Vauxhall Astra, it is a 151/2ft, seven seater people carrier of monumental awfulness: We start with the seats. Yes there are seven but there is no one alive today that could fit in any of the five in the back. And there is no boot at all, unless you fold the two rearmost chairs into the floor. Its hopeless.

    But it’s not as bad as the engine. For the first mile, l was absolutely sure it was a diesel but then l noticed the rev counter read to 6,000. Dear God in heaven, l thought. This ailing cement mixer is running out of petrol. It’s a 1.8-litre four-cylinder unit that does nothing well. Even movement is a struggle. I was staggered to notice the car was fitted with traction control. Why? That’s like fitting traction control to a chest freezer.
    On top of the lack of power, it’s also thirsty, unrefined and sounds like a wounded whale. And none of that should surprise you. Because asking a Chevy engineer to design you a four-cylinder engine is like asking a man in a burger van to poach you a halibut. It’s still cooking, but it’s not the sort of cooking he’s used to.
    I should say at this point that the prices are quite low. The LTZ model is just £18,310, which doesn’t sound to bad. But if you want any colour other than white, you must pay an extra £410, and if you want sat nab, then that’s another £765. What are they thinking of? Why fit traction control, which is unnecessary, and make us pay more for a road map, which is?
    Handling? that’s terrible. The ride? Terrible. Seat Comfort? Terrible. And finished off on the inside with a range of plastics that feel like Cellophane.
    Some people may buy this car so they can tell their friends they have a Chevrolet. They won’t buy another.”

    Much angst after the review appeared, the Star offered an “correction” the following week, acknowledging that the engine in Jeremy’s test Orlando was a European only version. I noticed the review is no longer available on the Tor Star site.

  • avatar
    brettc

    That Jeremy Clarkson review is awesome. (Even better if you read it doing your best Jeremy Clarkson impression.) It looks like GM Canada is answering a question that no one asked and Chrysler is beating them as a result. The concept looked pretty good overall, but the actual product’s looks are about as exciting as a chest freezer on wheels. Not as ugly as the Aztec, but a close second.

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    It’s better looking than the GMC Terrain but still fugly as hell

  • avatar
    Burnout

    So Derek…unless I missed it, what about fit and finish/material quality on this Chevy Orlando?

  • avatar
    dundurrbay

    I am already seeing these booting around my town up in NW ontario quite often, and man, are they ever an eyesore. Especially in white, which seems to be the most common colour..

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    reminds me of a 4 door geo tracker. anyone have an idea as to how these 2 diff models compare in length and width?


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India