Steven Cole Smith Doesn't Hate The Chevy Aveo

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
steven cole smith doesnt hate the chevy aveo

Steven Cole Smith is The Orlando Sentinel's automotive editor. You may remember Smith as Car and Driver's executive editor and/or as a syndicated New York Times car columnist. Or perhaps you've seen his byline at Edmunds or AutoWeek. Now I'm not going to say Smith pulls his punches to please his paper's patrons, be they carmakers or car dealers. But I will say the Aveo is one of the nastiest cars I've ever driven, and I'm pretending this is 1977. Smith disagrees. "The 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine is surprisingly smooth and quiet, and while gas mileage isn't great for a car this small, it's pretty darn good: an EPA-rated 25 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway in our test car." And "Headroom in the Aveo5 is generous, and rear-seat room isn't that bad, unless you have some long-legged people in the front seat. That room comes at the expense of luggage space in the back, but the rear seat folds down." And then he gets NASTY, in a loving kind of way. "Inside, for the most part, the Aveo looked and felt surprisingly upscale, but there were a few tipoffs to the fact that this is an inexpensive car: While the flip-down sun visors had vanity mirrors, the mirrors were uncovered, meaning that when the visors were down, they reflected you and everything behind the car. It was annoying enough that I'd have to use a strip of duct tape to cover them if I owned the car." Wait. Smith would actually consider owning one of these shit-boxes? Not bloody likely.

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  • AG AG on Aug 18, 2008

    Even at 8k, you'd be better off with a second-hand Civic. I know I am.

  • Wave54 Wave54 on Aug 18, 2008
    Even at 8k, you’d be better off with a second-hand Civic. I know I am The last time I bought a car, I was considering a used Civic or Corolla until I saw the prices. To get at 10K or under, you had to look at cars with 100K on them and 4-6 years old. So, I bought an Aveo for $8400 and held my breath. It still runs at 134K miles, but really is a crap-box with a "zero-enjoyment" quotient. It is roomy inside and finished well if you can tolerate the so-so gas mileage, costly repairs, wonky electronics and the horrific handling dynamics. The car squeaks, creaks, and rattles over tiny ripples in the road; sways and rolls like a drunken sailor in 10 mph breezes and is unmanageable in 35-50 mph winds. Anything above that -- leave it home. Would I buy another -- NO!!!

  • Menno Menno on Aug 18, 2008

    Bought a 2002 Daewoo Nubira (until 2008, the later version of which was sold as the Suzuki Forenza sedan) in 2003, for 1/2 of MSRP, with 25 miles on it "used" (from a non-Daewoo dealership which managed to pick up hundreds of these for a song when Daewoo USA went tits-up). Thanks, GM, your decision to buy Daewoo then yank the rug from under Daewoo USA and not sell them any cars, bankrupting them, made it possible for us to give our 1999 Neon to our college age son, and buy a car for 1/2 price. At least something came out good from it for someone, eh? The 2002 Daewoo was definitely a gamble, we knew it. But we didn't want some used POS (having just had a new Neon POS, prior to that having had a new Cavlier POS). Ironically, the Nubira was one of the better new cars we'd ever bought, despite it's extreme cheapness (in construction/details). Flat black instrument panel of "industrial grade" plastic and blue cloth upholstery mis-matched with blue plastic interior trim, etc. Rear crank windows (front power). But overall, it only went to the nearest dealer for one recall and two repairs under warrantee (power window regulator in driver's door and a suspension bushing). Of course, as other Daewoo (now badged Chevrolet) 4 cylinder cars, the MPG was nothing special. In fact, my 2002 Sonata V6 got about the same MPG, or maybe 1 mpg less than the 2-litre four cylinder Nubira which was clearly one full size smaller than the Sonata. My youngest son is still driving the Daewoo and it is proving to be as reliable and trouble free, amazingly enough. It's got about 70,000 miles on it by now. But what is it about Daewoos not getting good MPG? The 2 litre engine is actually even a GM Holden (Australia) designed and manufactured engine, even when Daewoo was independent, they were buying these.

  • NoSubstitute NoSubstitute on Aug 18, 2008

    "eggsalad : I fail to understand how Daewoo gets 30% worse gas mileage from 1.5 liters than Yaris or Fit. It simply astounds me." The current numbers fall somewhat short of astounding. Per 2009 Aveo5: 25/34/28 2008 Fit: 27/34/30 2008 Yaris: 29/35/31 All are with automatic (2009 figures are not yet available for Fit or Yaris). That puts Yaris 16% ahead on city mileage; 11% combined. EPA estimates an average saving of $202 at current fuel prices. To answer your next question, the results are much the same with manual transmissions: Aveo5: 27/34/30 Fit: 28/34/31 Yaris: 29/36/32 With a self shifter, the Yaris saves all of $119/year compared to the Aveo. What's astounding isn't the difference between an Aveo and a Yaris, it's the difference between an Aveo and a real car, say a Malibu: 2009 Malibu (auto): 22/33/26 Aveo5: 24/34/28 EPA calculates that fueling the Malibu will cost $166 a year more than an Aveo. Camry/Yaris and Accord/Fit will yield more or less comparable numbers. Notwithstanding the current mpg at all costs craze, even at $4/gallon, sending yourself to the penalty box for the next several years yields little financial reward.