I rarely come down hard on a car manufacturer for keeping cost down. Especially during this economic downturn when car buyers need every price break they can get. On the surface, the Chevy Aveo5 appears to be less expensive than the Honda Fit. However, when I compare the Fit with an Aveo5 hatchback with comparable features, consumers are actually paying more for the Aveo, but getting less – especially in the all-important area of safety features.
Safety is Important
When I was Internet Manager for a major car dealer, I helped many nervous parents buy their sons and daughters their first vehicle. Style, power, and the sound system were often important to the end-user. However, without exception, economy and safety were the primary concerns of the parents. And yes, they wanted their child to be able to afford the vehicle over the long haul, but even more important was being safe in case of an accident.
A parent’s concern for a child’s safety was true no matter the make or size of vehicle being considered. However, a chief consideration of most people buying a sub-compact hatchbatch—first-time buyers or older folk needing a run-around car—is safety. They want to feel protected in what amounts to a smaller than average vehicle. These days, there are minimal features that safety conscious buyers expect: side curtain air bags, electronic stability control, anti-lock (ABS) brakes, and so on. Unfortunately for Chevy buyers, the Aveo5 comes up short.
A Pale Reflection
I was surprised that Chevrolet compares the Aveo5 LS to the Honda Fit on their website. It’s an unfortunate comparison: unfortunate for the Aveo, that is. Sure, the Aveo is less expensive. But the Honda Fit is decked out in a full array of safety equipment. The base Fit comes with all manner of air bags, including all-important side curtain air bags. It has electronic stability control, ABS brakes, traction control, and even active head restraints, which reduce injury in the case of rear-end collision.
The Chevy Aveo5 LS is a pale reflection of the classy Fit. Not only can you not get an automatic transmission, air conditioning, or a CD player at any price in this LS model, but you can’t even get ABS brakes or other important safety features.
If you move up a model to the Aveo5 1LT, you can at least get an automatic transmission and other amenities that most buyers want. However, you’ll pay an extra $440 for the optional ABS brakes. Amazingly, other must-have safety equipment is not available at any price, including side curtain air bags (though front side bags are included), electronic stability control, and traction control. Needless to say, active head restraints are not available either.
Honda Fit: 1 – Chevy Aveo5: No Score
It’s sad when any vehicle comes up this short when viewed side-by-side with a competing model. It’s true that you can save thousands of dollars by purchasing a Chevy Aveo5 LS instead of a Honda Fit. You'll simply have to do without an automatic transmission, air conditioning, and important safety equipment.
Unfortunately, moving up a model to the Aveo5 1LT doesn’t help you very much. By the time you add basic optional features, such as power windows and ABS brakes, you’ll be paying the same or more than a Fit. The sad fact is that even then you’ll have to do without safety equipment that some consumers believe is the minimum needed in any new car that they’ll drive themselves or their family in.