All 2008 Chevrolet Aveo models have a 103-hp, 1.6-liter engine that, from inside the cabin, is remarkably refined, but performance is barely adequate with the five-speed manual and sluggish with the four-speed automatic carrying anything but a light load and on level roads.
All but one of the sources consulted by experts at TheCarConnection.com have come to the same conclusion: the 2008 Chevrolet Aveo is no Audi--and it's not even a '60s-vintage VW bug in terms of performance. The exception was Kelley Blue Book, referring to the "surprising capabilities of the [Chevrolet] Aveo LT's zippy little 103-hp engine." The reviewer didn’t elaborate upon them or specify what exactly those "capabilities" are.
USAToday uses faint praise to damn this subcompact Chevrolet; 2008’s Aveo is compared to the long-gone Yugo, while calling the Aveo "barely adequate for surviving cutthroat driving common in modern 'burbs." They do acknowledge that the manual transmission does permit one to keep rolling in this miniature machine and even "stir...up a little fun in the process," noting that "it's a lot more satisfying to drive an underpowered car hard than it is to drive a powerful car gingerly." The Detroit News called its four-speed automatic “ancient.”
The 2008 Chevrolet Aveo doesn't handle particularly well either; it's not confidence-inspiring in tight corners, possibly due to pronounced body lean.
“The Aveo's responses are competent, albeit with demerits for underassisted steering and long braking distances,” Car and Driver reports. “Its ride quality is acceptable.”
Motor Week tested the brakes on this Chevrolet; 2008 Aveos take 139 feet to come to a complete stop from 60 mph with the stock vented front disc brakes and rear drum brakes. This source recommends that prospective buyers order the anti-lock braking option.
Car and Driver is another source that doesn't exactly heap praise on this particular Chevrolet; 2008 versions are better than previous Aveos, but people demand more today. "The threshold of acceptability for basic is a lot higher than it's ever been," they add. Car and Driver also remarks on the Aveo’s “decent fuel economy — 26 mpg city, 34 highway for this automatic-equipped model,” but observed only “24 mpg.” The Detroit News echoes that, reporting the Aveo’s “gas mileage is only average.”