The 2009 Aveo (sedan) and Aveo5 (five-door hatchback) have a new exterior design, with swoopy body lines cutting across the body. I prefer the hatchback with its squared off back end and larger cargo space. Compact outside, with only a 3,938 mm overall length, there is good room inside for four large adults and cargo. The 60/40 split rear seat folds and tumbles forward to provide 1190 litres of cargo room, which is practical and useful.

Outside, the new front end shows the Chevy family resemblance similar to the new Malibu, with a smaller grille above the bumper and a large air intake below the bumper. Large lights front and rear stand out on the Aveo5 and the front fog lights add a sporty touch. The small grilles on the front fenders just in front of the doors look like an afterthought but seem to be the “in thing” with many new vehicles.

Inside, the two-tone cloth seats look nice and fit me well. The same cloth is used as inserts on the door panels and it is a nice touch in a price range where you would expect all plastic.

The interior styling is new, with bright trim on the doors, dash and steering wheel that complement each other. The round gauges are large and easy to read, and our car came with air conditioning and an optional automatic transmission. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard equipment. Above the driver’s door, there is a spring-loaded case for handy access to those sunglasses.

The Aveo5 is available in LS and LT trim. We tested the upper LT trim level. The corporate GM radio fits nicely into the dash and our car had optional XM satellite radio as well as GM’s OnStar (standard on LT models). Other new features include variable intermittent wipers and oil life monitoring system, so you can save some maintenance money by getting oil changes only when needed.

The seating position is good for even a tall driver and visibility is good in all directions. The car’s small size makes it easy to slip into tight parking spots. The steering is light and responsive and the low 1,160 kg weight of the car helps with the handling. Fifteen-inch tires are optional, as are alloy wheels, but our car came with 14-inch tires and steel wheels with hubcaps to keep costs down. The security package adds $960 to the price bit it is worth it as it includes ABS brakes and seat-mounted side impact air bags.

An all new 1.6 litre Ecotec four cylinder engine powers the ’09 Aveo models. With variable valve timing, the engine puts out 105 horsepower. This number isn’t large, but it moves the Aveo5 smartly away from a stop or when passing on the highway. You don’t need as much horsepower if you can keep the weight down. Fuel economy is also excellent, with up to a 10 per cent improvement from last year’s model. It is now rated at 5.8 L/100 km on the highway. My experience with the car is that it will save a lot on fuel around town too.

You can dress the Aveo5 up with options such as rear spoiler or sunroof, or you can stay with the base model for minimum cost. The base MSRP for the Aveo5 is $13,770. That makes for very economical transportation and it has a three-year warranty, so you can say goodbye to costly repairs.

2009 Chevrolet Aveo5

Type: Compact hatchback
Price: from $13,770
Engine: 1.6 litre DOHC I-4
HP: 106 at 6400 rpm
Torque: 105 lb.ft. at 3600 rpm


• Good value for money
• Improved fuel economy
• Compact but roomy design

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