| First Drive | La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland | Chevrolet Aveo diesel |
Pricing: £12,345 to £13,615
Engine: 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door hatchback
Rivals: Skoda Fabia, Hyundai i10, Kia Picanto
CO2 emissions: 95 - 108g/km
Combined economy: 74.3 - 78.5mpg
Top speed: 108mph (94bhp Eco model)
0-62mph: 11.7 seconds
Power: 94bhp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 140lb.ft at 1,750 - 2,500rpm
In the Metal:
The Chevrolet Aveo isn't a bad looking little car and there are no cosmetic changes for the diesel model, so our initial opinion from a drive of the petrol version (check that out here
) a few months back still stands.
Again, there's no difference in the way the diesel handles, so we'd refer you to our previous test for that one. What's significant here is the 1.3-litre VCDi engine. All three versions are fitted with stop-start, which worked well on our test cars - and they're very clean. They're not exactly refined, though. An old school diesel clatter is audible at idle and when the engine exceeds 3,000rpm it becomes very loud and intrusive.
Power isn't the name of the game either, but there's enough torque to shift the Aveo when you want it. This mid-range delivery makes it arguably more useful than the small petrol-engined models overall, especially out of town. The manual gearbox is soft but easy in its operation in all but the first two gears, which were often hard to find in our low-mileage test cars.
What you get for your Money:
You can't knock Chevy here. The most basic Aveo comes with remote central locking, electric front windows and mirrors, a rear spoiler and more. LT models are particularly generous and add 15-inch alloys, air conditioning, Bluetooth and plenty more, while top-spec LTZ versions keep piling it on. That said, the Aveo's prices aren't significantly lower than the competition - in fact, they're dearer in some cases.
The reason for the varying economy and emissions figures at the top of the page is because of the difference in power output and spec between the three models. The least powerful 74bhp engine is, not surprisingly, the slowest, but it manages to dip one gram below the 100g/km mark, qualifying for free road tax. The standard 94bhp model is a little dirtier at 108g/km but more powerful, while the 94bhp ECO model is no less powerful and emits only 95g/km. Chevrolet hinted at the possibility of even cleaner engines within the Aveo's lifetime, so we'll keep you posted on that.
The new, clean diesel unit makes more of a case for the Chevrolet Aveo, but it still isn't strong enough to stave off competition from the Czechs and the Koreans. If it were a little cheaper and/or more polished then it would be a serious contender, but for now, the three rivals at the top of this page are better choices.