By on December 31, 2008

The Chevy Aveo has been on TTAC’s Ten Worst List since we inaugurated the public service. In 2008, it remains at the top of the steaming pile, garnering a gong at the number three spoty. To quote from this year’s encapsulation: “The Aveo continues to offer a snap-crackle-pop interior, mediocre gas mileage, roly-poly handling and gutless onramp terror.” So how in the world could Detroit News carmudgeon Scott Burgess find anything nice to say about Chevy’s Korean American revolution, never mind a whole column’s worth? Let’s s-s-s-s-sample. “It’s roomy, peppy and comes with more personality than similarly priced competition.” Oh really? Vera, Fit, Yaris? “The hatch helps the Aveo5 stand out. It’s a good look, and it plays multiple utilitarian roles, such as making it extremely easy to park as well as load big things in the back. Few other exterior features add to its looks. It’s not like the designers had a lot of sheet metal to work with.” So… it’s a hatchback. Gotcha. “Chevy upgraded the interior materials, though there is a certain economical feel to this vehicle. Every part of the cabin feels well built, though it’s difficult to know how it will hold up over the long haul.” “Economical feel.” Is that a synonym for horrifically cheap?

“The power rack-and-pinion steering had a well-weighted feel, especially around town, where the Aveo5 excelled. The original Aveo, the cheapest new car to own according to Edmunds.com, is nice. The Aveo5 is nicer.”

And a single bullet wound is better than a spray of machine gun fire. Personally, I prefer neither.

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26 Comments on “DetN’s Burgess Defends the Indefensible: The Chevy Aveo5...”


  • avatar
    olivehead

    having recently driven a cobalt rental, i can’t imagine that this even smaller, even cheaper car has any real saving grace.

  • avatar
    john.fritz

    So these are the shit-boxes that the liberal left would have us all drive on our 60+ mile commutes five days a week?

    Well, boy howdy! Sign me up. Anyone wanna buy a cherry ’08 Grand Marquis with the Handling/Performance package? Why would I possibly want that vehicle any more?

  • avatar
    gamper

    I have never been inside an Aveo so I cannot really comment. But I have been in the Toyota Yaris, and it is far from a treat. It is soooo cheap that it almost begs the question as to why it needs interior panels or plastics of any sort. Why not just have a seat, steering wheel and a firewall.

    The Aveo’s real downfall is its real world fuel economy. Other than that, I really dont see how the Yaris is any better. But that is enough for me to buy the Yaris if I had to choose.

  • avatar
    bjcpdx

    This is why I no longer read auto reviews in newspapers (but I’m glad that you do). Having sampled those in various papers around the country, it seems that there is a formula of sorts for writing these articles:

    1. Find nothing but positives about the vehicle in question.

    2. Throw in one or two mild negatives just to show that you’re not a complete kiss-ass.

  • avatar
    miked

    olivehead – funny you mention the cobalt. I’m currently renting a cobalt but since I picked it up late at night after a long flight I had it in my mind that it was an aveo. I thought it was pretty nice for an aveo and was quite surprised. Then I realized of was a colbalt and was very dissapointed. The plastics and road noise are very reminicent of the 88 buick regal my parents had when I was a kid. There’s been no real improvement on 20 years!

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    One salutory effect of this article is that it may open a few more peoples eyes (heres hoppin’) to the credibility of Burgess and the DetN on automotive matters.
    */* Rah Team!

    The only reason for a car like this to exist is fuel economy.

    Typical Aveo test mpg is 23-25.
    Typical mide-size 4 banger test mpg 23-25.

    If you need a bow-tie buggy that is cheap get a used ‘Bu.

    Case closed.

    Bunter

  • avatar
    N85523

    Push it off the pier.

  • avatar
    akear

    What is real insulting is that GM gave the engineering to Daewoo and not its American engineers in Detroit. Let this un-American pile of garbage rot in hell.

    The Putz has stated that he has been impressed with Daewoo’s build quality.

    Remember, folks the Cruze is also a Daewoo! Will we be seeing the Cruze on future worst car lists?

  • avatar
    crackers

    Coming from the Detroit News, it is entirely possible that the author has never actually been in or driven the non-Detroit competition. From that rather small viewpoint, the Aveo isn’t so bad.

  • avatar
    Terry

    I think you have to take Detroit News with a grain of salt. They preach to the(their?)choir, play the race/class card, expose their siege-like mentality, and live in “The Land Where Time Stands Still”, circa 1965.
    One of the messages I get from the “Us vs.Them” crowd is..”You can buy an import as long as one of the Detroit 3 sell it.”

  • avatar
    Macca

    Like others have said before, how does this even pass as an ‘economy’ car if it fails at providing decent mileage? C/D averaged 24 MPG on their February 2007 test. That’s paltry mileage for a 2600 lb, 10.8 sec 0-60 buggy. The Versa and Fit will return far better city mileage in a much nicer package, with longer option lists, better quality, and far better performance.

    Heck, my Mazda3 GT reliably returns 25 MPG in town without too much effort – granted, it is rated at 22 MPG by the EPA – but I’ve read more than one Aveo review with less-than-EPA mileage returns. This amazes me, as I’ve always exceeded the EPA rating for every car I’ve owned.

    Seriously, what’s the point of buying such a crap car if the mileage stinks? This thing should be capable of 30+ MPG in town with its size and weight. Anyone who buys this over the competition is absolutely clueless – they probably also believe they’re ‘buying American’.

    But remember guys and gals – it’s our fault that the D2.8 are failing, not theirs!

  • avatar
    akear

    As bad as this car is it won’t join the all-time worst small car list, which include the Chevette and Pinto. Still, if GM can’t do better than this in 2009, maybe they should not be making small cars at all.

  • avatar
    qfrog

    Has everybody by now seen the Top Gear episode on whether or not communists ever produced a decent car? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHEP2DR29VU

    This Aveo runs the risk of some day… somewhere being the sorry little lackluster whipping boy which some retro-reviewer like Clarkson takes it upon himself to mock and destroy for the delight of all. I suppose in that way the Aveo will some day bring joy to us… post mortem(for most of em, thankfully).

  • avatar

    john.fritz,

    The “liberal left” doesn’t want you to drive crappy subcompacts like the Aveo. They want you to drive the most fuel-efficient decent vehicle that will get the job done for you.

    I assure you that not all subcompacts are crap. Go drive a Fit or a Mazda3.

  • avatar
    Lokki

    The “liberal left” doesn’t want you to drive crappy subcompacts like the Aveo

    Absolutely true…. The only one that wants you to drive an Aveo is GM. Well, them and budget rental car.

    I had one when I flew into Boston. I figured that I wasn’t going to be driving enough to make it worth upgrading….

    Wow. Noisy, howling, drove like the handbrake was stuck on (it may have been for all I know). The car really had that rubberfloor-mat cardboard-door-panel feel of the cheapest econoboxes of the 70’s.

    As for 23 mpg? Hmmph! I average that in my 328i…. and I don’t piddle along.

    That reviewer is trying to make a sow’s ear out of a paper sandwich bag.

  • avatar
    folkdancer

    So these are the shit-boxes that the liberal left would have us all drive on our 60+ mile commutes five days a week?

    As a sometime liberal and sometime conservative the GM Aveo is not something I would wish on anyone nor would I wish 15 mpg Jeeps or clumsy PUs on anyone.

    We have too many vehicles designed by lazy engineers. The engineers of the world are capable of much better.

    As a liberal I want to open up the market to new ideas and as a conservative I want to save our country from borrowing large amounts of money from the Chinese to buy oil from Canada/Mexico/Argentina.

    Perhaps with real conservative thinking (or just plain thinking) 60 mile daily commutes could have been avoided:-)

  • avatar
    Snowdog

    I have to defend the aveo as well. I have a 2004 hatchback,I don’t know where they’re getting those gas mileage numbers from though.

    I’ve driven it daily for 4 years as a service tech, since buying it new in may 04 i’ve put 125k miles on it. Zero problems other than one busted hose, and the worst mileage I’ve gotten in town was 29mpg. On the highway it’s usually 35 or so. Yeah it’s got a cheap plastic interior, but I bought it as a work car. It was going to be filled with copier parts and boxes of toner, so really didn’t care. All I needed was a cheap car, good mileage, and AC, and it’s delivered.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Snowdog: “All I needed was a cheap car, good mileage, and AC, and it’s delivered.”That’s the problem with the Aveo5. At MSRP, the extremely basic point-A to point-B transportation it offers is not that cheap in comparison with the far better competition. Even with the requisite discounts and rebates, the hit on resale makes any of the myriad other, pricier small cars a whole lot better purchase.

  • avatar
    Canucknucklehead

    In a fit of insanity, I bought and Aveo5 in 2006. It seemed a nice car, the price was right and the financing deal excellent. How stupid I was!

    The car hogged gasoline like a V-6, I had a hard time getting more than 22 miles per US gallon out of it and it was a standard to boot.

    At 10,000 km, the engine developed a severe rattle. It took the esteemed GM technician six weeks to put a motor in it while they fought with each other who would pay the carrying charges while the warranty claim was being processed. In four weeks, I didn’t receive a single call from the dealer, who, with the ultimate in class, blamed me for causing the engine failure by using synthetic oil.

    A whopping 3000 km later, there was no second gear. I called the dealership and had the car towed. Of course, instead of just replacing the transmission and sending a happy customer on his merry way, the dealership tried to rebuild it. Except not a not one of their retarded mechanics could do it. They pulled and reinstalled the tranny three times before they actually put a complete new unit in the car. Time out of action: three weeks.

    An incredible 5000 km later, the PCM failed, almost causing me to get creamed by a pick up truck. There was a rash of said failures and the computer was back ordered. Time in gas guzzing rental car: two weeks.

    On the way home from the dealer, the PCM shorted out again, having gone a stellar 4 km. Another two weeks.

    I then started advertising the car and got what I had into it from a new victim, sorry, owner.

    I then bought a 2008 Honda Fit which is a better car in every day and uses 50% less fuel. Total problems to date: none.

    Dealership experience: Fantastic.

    I will never, ever, buy a GM car again as long as I live.

  • avatar
    Snowdog

    Resale value is not an issue. As I said, I have 125,000 miles on a 4 year old car. If i had bought a Civic, my resale value would still be nil-due to the ridiculous miles I put on a car each month. As a field tech, you don’t consider resale value when you buy a car. Because by the time you get ready to replace it, there won’t be any.

    Another thing about mileage, I did notice that it jumped to what i’m getting now after I switched to running synthetic oil after break in. That might have something to do with it, or my habit of monthly oil changes (at 50 bucks a pop for using Mobil 1, yikes! good thing i get a maintenance allowance)

  • avatar
    NickR

    though it’s difficult to know how it will hold up over the long haul

    Isn’t that what is called damning by faint phrase?

    It looks acceptable, for this class, I don’t expect much. However, selling an economy car minus the economy never really made sense to me.

    (Interesting juxtaposition of this article with the Geo Metro capsule review. GM ‘Marching resolutely backwards.’

  • avatar
    Michael Ayoub

    Economical feel is journalist code for “feels like shit.”

  • avatar
    john.fritz

    Hey Guys, well spoken and reasonable responses to my ‘LL’ crack. Nice to be posting with adults.

    My GM gets about 22mpg when I use it strictly to and from work. Of course, bumble around town and the mileage goes in the toilet. But I have been very surprised (as I was here) with the mileage some of these fuel-efficient cars get. How can a car like the Aveo get only a few more miles to the gallon than my boat? Who’s designing these things?

    And believe me, if I could’ve found a job closer than 30 miles from my house, I would’ve. I think a large number of people are stuck with sizable commutes that they don’t have much choice about.

  • avatar
    darvon

    Hello TTAC, new poster. I have been lurking for months, but decided to register so as to start posting.

    I live in Detroit, but am not in the Auto business, nor a car afficienado, but have friends who are so I know how you guys and gals think.

    I have read the Aveo being raked over the coals multiple times. I must defend the poor Aveo. All the comments may be true in aggregate, but they don’t match my experience.

    My wife has a 07 aveo hatchback that we bought new. My wife wanted to trade in her T&C minivan for something economical fuel-wise as she went back to college about 2 years ago. For very unusual reasons we were able to buy a car, any car, for about $10,000 less at a particular Chevy dealer, so I picked the Aveo Hatch.

    She loves it. Nothing has broken at all in 2+ years. 32 MPG in combo driving. Handling? I haven’t a clue. Probably not F1 class, but neither is my wife.

    Interior? Looks fine to me.

    We have had maybe 20 cars over the years. The Aveo is on the GOOD side of the ledger for us.

    And even without the wierd $10,000. The Aveo was about 20% less in Detroit than Fits or Yaris, when I was looking. I have lived all over the US and prices do vary regionally, so maybe it Aveos and Fits are equal $$ where you are. But not then in Detroit.

  • avatar
    Canucknucklehead

    An Aveo with similar equipment, for example side and side curtain air bags and ABS is not 20% less expensive than a Fit.

    I have driven both cars at length. The Honda is a waaaaaaaaaay better car.

    And you know, for the $50 a month more to drive a Honda, it is worth it.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    An Aveo5 would probably cost around $1k less than an identically equipped Yaris or Fit (street price after discounts). Given the penalties in all categories (save price), I’m not sure it would be worth the savings.

    In typical GM marketing fashion, Aveo’s are regularly advertised at unbelievably low prices. I remember months ago briefly seeing a supposedly new one for $8k in the local newspaper.

    However, when you look at the fine print (completely stripped 5-speed sedan with none of the amenities like A/C or radio, i.e., the traditional, one-off, loss-leader designed solely for the classic bait-and-switch), well, the more expensive Aveo5 doesn’t look like such a bargain in comparison.

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