- Good build quality
- Notable performance in the manual option
- Tight ride for its class
- Hatchback practicality with Aveo5
- Questionable crash-test performance
- Ride at cruising speeds
- Unfriendly interior controls
The 2010 Chevrolet Aveo and Aveo5 are worth considering if the bulk of your driving is done around the city—but there are plenty of better small-car options that don't cost much more.
The 2010 Chevrolet Aveo is one of the more economical—in terms of price and fuel efficiency—cars to buy in the country today. Both body styles, the Aveo sedan and the Aveo5 hatchback, come with front-wheel drive and should be among the small cars on the shopping list of anyone concerned about high fuel prices. The Aveo is all-around competent, although many buyers may be left wanting more.
Offered in three variants—base, LS, and LT—the Aveo5 wears the guise introduced in 2009, whereas the four-door sedan was revised back in 2008. GM Daewoo in South Korea builds the Aveos, all of which carry Chevrolet’s new signature front-end styling, with a Chevy bow framed by a larger grille. Larger tail lamps and an available rear spoiler dress up the basic model. The side vent in the Aveo5 (absent from the sedan) is ludicrous.
The 2010 Chevrolet Aveo and Aveo5 use identical engines, transmissions, and chassis components. EPA mileage for the pair is 27/35 mpg (city/highway) on models equipped with a five-speed manual transmission and 25/34 mpg for those with a four-speed automatic. The engine is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 108 horsepower and 104 pound-feet of torque, which can give you about 400 miles from a single tank. When you give the vehicle a once-over, there’s no getting away from it being a strictly city car. It comes with MacPherson struts, a torsion-beam rear, and a short 97.7-inch wheelbase. Small 14-inch wheels are fitted as standard, while 15-inch units (and anti-lock brakes) are optional. The Aveo is nifty around town, but once you reach cruising speeds over 70 mph, the car reveals its urban heritage, feeling nervous and out of place.
The Aveo may offer five seat belts, but getting five adults into the car is much easier said than done. Space, especially in the rear, is tight, although it’s more than adequate for four occupants. The rear bench has theater-style seating (for better exterior visibility) and a 60/40 split for cargo flexibility. Improved interior materials introduced in 2009 carry over for the latest model year, including optional wood grain trim, as well as metallic and carbon-fiber-look materials. Storage and convenience bins are all over the interior, and higher-end features such as cruise control, XM, and a large sunroof are also offered. GM products often have one of the best XM radio setups, but the Aveo's radio controls are missing a tuning knob found on most other models.
In terms of safety, the 2010 Chevrolet Aveo includes front and side airbags as standard, leaving ABS as an option. A bonus is the height-adjustable front shoulder belts, which prove to be more comfortable. Scores for the Aveo5 in federal crash tests are dual five-star ratings for frontal impacts and dual four-star ratings for side impacts. The Aveo sedan fares less well, losing one star each for the passengers in front and side impacts. In IIHS tests, the insurance institute rates the Aveo's offset frontal-impact performance as "acceptable" and side impact as just "marginal." An offering the competitors do not have is the added measure of safety provided by GM OnStar, which is included.
Cars in this category come with a lot of extras standard these days, and the Aveo is no different. The base Aveo LS comes with a tilt steering wheel, rear-window defroster, AM/FM audio system with an auxiliary input jack for an iPod or other device, intermittent windshield wipers, and OnStar as standard. The 1LT packages add air conditioning and a CD player to the audio system, while the 2LT package packs on more, including cruise control, power heated exterior rearview mirrors, XM Satellite Radio, and remote keyless entry. Available options for the 2LT models include a sunroof, perforated leatherette (vinyl) seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and Bluetooth connectivity (this feature is also optional on 1LT trims).