The Chevrolet Aveo is GM's smallest, least expensive car. Aside from its price, what's most attractive about the Chevy Aveo is its surprisingly handsome interior, at least on the up-level 2LT. Its 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine is rated at 106 horsepower, which we found adequate. Transmission choices are either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. The Chevy Aveo is available as a four-door sedan or a versatile five-door hatchback called the Aveo5.
The 2009 Chevrolet Aveo gets a new, more efficient engine. The Aveo5 hatchback gets extensive revisions for 2009, with new exterior styling and a revised interior. The Aveo sedan received these updates for 2007. Their basic architecture and mechanical underpinnings date to 2004.
The Chevy Aveo is a subcompact that competes with the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, and Hyundai Accent. Aveo was designed to offer sensible, day-to-day transportation. Its ride is tuned more for comfort than sporty driving. Comfort is important when commuting through heavy, stop-and-go traffic and the Aveo won't spill your coffee on the way to work.
The Chevrolet Aveo gets the third generation of GM's 1.6-liter Ecotec engine for 2009. The addition of variable valve timing increases horsepower by 3 to 106 and helps improve fuel economy. Aveo is EPA-estimated to deliver 27/34 mpg City/Highway. That compares well with the Hyundai Accent (26/35 mpg) and Nissan Versa (27/33). The Honda Fit (28/35) and Toyota Yaris (29/36) are more efficient, but the Aveo costs less and it's unlikely you can make up the price difference in fuel economy.
We found the Chevrolet Aveo an enjoyable car to spend time with, particularly the Aveo 2LT with its nice upholstery, cloth or leatherette. The climate and audio controls are easy to use, the driver's seat adjusts for height, and the car drives well. Some of the other cars in this class offer more power, sharper handling, and a quieter ride, but we never felt like we were missing out on something when we were in this car. We prefer the Chevy Aveo5 five-door hatchback for its ability to haul stuff.
For 2009, in addition to the changes to the engine and exterior and interior of the Aveo5, the Aveo gets a revised lineup mix, and several new and revised features. OnStar assistance and an auxiliary input jack are now standard, XM satellite radio is available, and the radio controls are changed. The driver information center adds an outside temperature display and a fuel economy/driving range function. New Charcoal leatherette seating is offered and it is available with a leather-wrapped steering-wheel and shift knob.