California Autos Examiner

Friday, November 16, 2007

2009 Chevrolet Aveo5

I liken the Chevy Aveo to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The small, frugal cars don't exactly rake in massive margins for either dealers or GM. While Chevrolet's bigger cars and trucks got to play in all the reindeer games, the Aveo and before it the Sprint usually had to sit on the sidelines. It must have been sweet retribution then, that the 2009 Aveo5 was called up one foggy night to lead Chevrolet's team of fuel sippers. At the LA show the Aveo5 got to share the stage with GM's hybrid, flex fuel and fuel cell powered vehicles. Granted they put the Aveo5 off to the side, but the fact that she made it on to the stage counts for something.

What's new for the 2009 model? You'll probably notice the new front fascia that sports Chevrolet's new split grille face. I'm not quite convinced that the narrow width of the Aveo is the best canvas for the family grille, but here it is. The rear of the vehicle also received a nip and tuck. Probably much less noticeable is the rake of the A-pillar which leans back a few more degrees to increase visibility. There have been some reinforcements in the door to improve side impact protection as well. There are no curtain airbags, but the seat mounted bags are head and thorax. GM's ubiquitous OnStar is also standard equipment and XM radio is available. A driver's side armrest had already been added for the 2007 model year and it is always a nice feature to see. The standard tire pressure monitoring system doesn't give individual pressures, but rather simply illuminates when one of the tires experiences a loss of pressure--you'll have to take it from there. Under the hood, the engine has been updated to the next generation with an increase in horsepower to 107 and the same 106 lb/ft of torque.

It's not all wine and roses for the Aveo. The 2007 Aveo made Forbes' "Year's Poorest-Performing Cars" list because of:

"Marginal" IIHS side-impact ratings and a rare three-star NHTSA rating for rear-occupant side protection; a "worse than average" reliability rating, fuel-economy ratings that lag much of the competition, and the lowest, one-star depreciation rating from ALG. Also, the NHTSA frontal-impact test prompted a safety recall for potential fuel-line fracture that may lead to fire, affecting up to 17,676 vehicles.
The 2009 model has not yet received government crash testing or EPA ratings. However, GM is fairly confident that the manual transmission model should get 26 city / 34 highway. The automatic is still being tweaked in terms of mileage. Production for the 2009 Aveo5 should begin around May of 2008.

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