After the demise of the minicompact Metro following the 2001 model year, Chevrolet had no true entry-level passenger car in its lineup. Compact Cavaliers were the company's smallest models.
That omission was remedied for 2004 with a pair of Aveos. The new subcompact sedan and four-door hatchback were promoted as high in value, fun to drive and dependable.
For 2005, a Special Value model and an LT edition joined the LS trim level. All three versions remain in the 2006 lineup.
Seat-mounted side-impact airbags go into 2006 models, and dual-stage front airbags have a passenger-sensing system. Cruise control and remote keyless entry are newly available. The retuned Aveo suspension includes a thicker front stabilizer bar. Coat hooks are now mounted on the rear assist grips, and the front-seat headrests can tilt.
GM Daewoo Auto and Technology in South Korea manufactures these cars. Competitors include the Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio and Toyota Echo.
The Italdesign-Giugiaro studio in Turin, Italy, created the Aveo's styling. Short front and rear overhangs and what Chevrolet calls "cleanly cut contours" highlight the look. Clear headlights have faceted lenses.
A tall roofline allows the rear seats to be mounted higher than usual, which provides backseat passengers with a clear forward view. Aveo suspensions consist of MacPherson front struts with a stabilizer bar and a torsion beam rear axle.
All Aveos are mounted on a 97.6-inch wheelbase and ride on standard 14-inch tires. Five-spoke, 15-inch aluminum wheels are standard on 2006 LT models.
Aveos are capable of carrying five people. Backseat space is limited for taller occupants, but it's relatively spacious considering the car's small size. Both body styles have folding rear seats for greater cargo-carrying capacity. The backseat bottom in hatchback models can be flipped forward after the seatback has been folded flat, yielding 42 cubic feet of cargo space. The four-door sedan has a 60/40-split, folding rear seat.
Standard features include a tilt steering wheel and rear-window defogger. Air conditioning is installed in LS editions.
Upscale LT models feature a CD/MP3 player, power windows and locks, remote keyless entry and heated mirrors.
Under the Hood
A dual-overhead-cam 1.6-liter four-cylinder produces 103 horsepower and 107 pounds-feet of torque; it teams with a standard five-speed-manual gearbox or an optional four-speed automatic. A gated portion of the automatic's shifter permits driver control of gear changes. A "hold control" button lets the driver change gears by moving through the gated shifter, which can be helpful on slippery surfaces.
Antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution are optional, and seat-mounted side-impact airbags for front occupants are now standard. Front occupants get seat belt pretensioners and height-adjustable shoulder belt anchors. Daytime running lights are standard.
Frisky in terms of maneuverability and manual-shifting ease, the Aveo is short on power and ranks as ordinary overall. The engine must be pushed really hard to get adequate response in each gear. The car tracks reasonably well at highway speeds, but regular correction is needed. Despite appealing prices and fuel frugality, Aveos are somewhat old-fashioned and hard to recommend over contemporary Asian brands.