Is the 2010 Chevy Aveo5 Economy Hatchback Really as Bad as Everyone Says?

April 19, 2010

It is funny but when an all new model is launched so much is expected to be perfect and very often times carmakers get certain things wrong. Like, for instance, when the Chevy Aveo initially launched it had a crayon box-feel to the low quality dashboard and door trim, the styling of the hatchback version made the car look like a giant roller skate, and the engine was louder than anything your local Hertz counter had seen since Kia discontinued the Rio Cinco wagon.

Fast forward a few years to 2010 and you can see that Chevy treated the Aveo (available in sedan or five-door wagon) to regular updates and touch ups in recent years to fix what was wrong at the beginning. Chevy must have added sound deadening because the engine sounds far more muted while the interior and exterior trims have been dressed up with better materials and chrome. It all definitely works together far more cohesively than the first Aveo ever did.

But once consumer impressions have sufficient time to settle and people deem a certain car to be “just a rental,” your nameplate is pretty much done in this country. Why do you think nameplates like “Accord,” “Camry” and “Civic” remain popular while history is littered with names like “Galaxie,” “Bel-Air,” “Chevette,” and “Caprice Classic.” U.S. automakers would allow models to fall behind the imported names and then would just drop them like so much litter.

But does the 2010 Aveo5 hatchback deserve such a fate? Admittedly in the next year or so there is a new sexy subcompact coming to Chevy bow-tie dealers that may or may not wear the Aveo badge. But unfortunately, the upcoming Aveo won’t share the current model’s rock bottom sticker price. That is the one feature that has really helped turn the Aveo into the best selling subcompact in this country.

2010 Chevrolet Aveo LT w/1LT

2010 Chevrolet Aveo LT w/1LT

While there is a basic LS model available it unfortunately is not even offered at any price with air conditioning or anti-lock brakes. That qualifies the Aveo LS as a terrible alternative to a two year old used car. No air conditioning in 2010? GM must start making better decisions when equipping its “stripped out models” which should instead try the time-tested Honda model and just “feel lighter.”

Thankfully, the $14,250 1LT model adds air conditioning, power windows, door locks, keyless entry, On-star, an auxiliary input jack, a 6-speaker AM/FM CD-audio system and makes optional a 4-speed automatic transmission, leather upholstery, anti-lock brakes and cruise control. A five speed manual mated to a 108-horsepower 4 cylinder motor is standard on all Aveo models and thusly equipped these Korea built subcompacts return an impressive 27 city/35 highway.

For the princely sum of $15,365 you can upgrade to the 2LT trim level which gives you 15-inch steel wheel covers, XM radio, cruise control, a rear spoiler and “deluxe” fabric seat trim that actually feels built to withstand hardy use. The turn signal stalks and the automatic transmission lever don’t even feel like you can rip them from the dashboard anymore. Is the interior of the 2010 Chevy Aveo5…well built? Yes, it does feel that way.

Optional extras like the “Driver’s Convenience Package” ($190 well spent for steering wheel mounted audio controls and a trip computer), anti-lock brakes (yes at $440) and even a power moonroof ($720) all beckon from the options list.  The $925 4-speed automatic may rob the Aveo of a bit of power but the standard five-speed manual transmission in this economy car is no pleasure to use and feels as sturdy as a bag of M&M’s.

With the rear seats up the 2010 Chevy Aveo5 boasts an extremely useful 32.5 cubic foot cargo area making it the perfect vehicle for first time drivers who have lots of moving in their future. One last note—when picking the interior color of your new Aveo5 (between charcoal and beige) always go for the more stylish looking charcoal with silver effect trim. The beige upholstery comes with faux-wood trim on the dashboard that is totally out of place in this century. Or any century for that matter.

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