Review: Chevrolet Aveo (2011 – 2015)


Nice looking hatchback. Good value for money. Decent handling. Good legroom in the back. Reasonable bootspace. Diesel has stop/start.

Petrol engines not particularly efficient. Automatic gearbox saps power. Interior plastics could be better in places.

Chevrolet Aveo (2011 – 2015): At A Glance

It's taken a few years but Chevrolet is finally escaping the ghost of Daewoo which has haunted the brand since 2002 when it picked up the pieces of the now defunct Korean manufacturer. It's progress has been steady rather than spectacular in the intervening years with the Captiva its most recognisable model in the UK. What's surprising is that it hasn't had a decent small hatchback in its line-up.

There was the Aveo from 2008 but this was basically a revamped Kalos and a hangover from the Daewoo days. It was a model that felt dated and low rent even when it was launched. Thankfully the new Aveo has a lot more gusto about it. It seems Chevrolet is now serious about taking on a market which is dominated by the Ford Fiesta.

For starters, this Aveo is new from the ground up with a new interior and fresh engines too. To say it's a huge improvement on the previous Aveo is an understatement. It's a far more complete car. The quality of the interior is good and it feels well built too, although there are some hard plastics inside which aren't particularly pleasant to touch. Overall though, it's a comfortable and spacious interior.

On the road the Aveo handles neatly and is easy to drive. It doesn't set the world alight but it does little wrong. The steering is quite light and has precious little in the way of feel, but it's composed in corners with good body control. There's a decent choice of engines too including an entry-level 1.2-litre petrol and an eco-friendly 1.3-litre diesel with stop/start technology to keep emissions down.

With prices starting at a low £9995 and a generous level of standard equipment throughout the range, it represents good value for money. It also comes with a five-year/100,000 mile warranty, although this isn't as good as Hyundai's five-year/unlimited mileage equivalent.

Road Test Chevrolet Aveo 2012

What does a Chevrolet Aveo (2011 – 2015) cost?

Chevrolet Aveo (2011 – 2015): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4039 mm
Width 1771–2004 mm
Height 1517 mm
Wheelbase 2525 mm

Full specifications

Chevrolet has tried hard to make the Aveo stand out and this continues inside with neatly designed, albeit not especially distinctive interior. The main focus is the the instrument cluster above the steering wheel. Similar to the one found in the Chevrolet Spark, it is inspired by a motorbike speedo and combines a traditional analogue rev counter with a neat digitial display for the speedo, fuel gauge and trip computer.

The display is backlit blue (something which used to be a Volkswagen trademark) as are the buttons and dials on the centre dash - all designed to give the Aveo a more upmarket and stylish appearance. The three-spoke steering wheel looks nice as do the circular air vents on either side. We also like the easy to use stereo (not the one on entry LT models though, which looks a bit cheap) but we're at a loss as to why there are two strange thin storage areas either side. They're not particularly useful and seem like an afterthought, especially when the ventilation controls are placed so low down.

On the plus side, for a small hatchback the interior of the Aveo is pretty spacious. Two adults can happily travel in the front without bashing elbows every time the driver goes to change gear while there's good storage too. There's a double level glovebox (although the top one isn't particularly generous) along with large door pockets, two cupholders in the central console and a pull-out drawer under the front passenger seat.

For passengers in the back there's a surprising amount of legroom, helped by the Aveo's squared off rear design. The seats are comfortable, although you will struggle to get three across and the roof slopes down at the sides, which means taller people can hit their head when getting out. The boot is a good size at 290 litres and features a hidden storage area below the boot floor.

The Aveo is well equipped as standard, and there are three trim levels - LS, LT and LTZ. All models get cruise control, air conditioning and a USB port as standard.

LS spec models come with air conditioning, cruise control with speed limiter, CD player, electric front windows, electric mirrors and rear spoiler. 

LT spec adds 15-inch alloy wheels, steering wheel mounted audio controls, four-way adjustment for the drivers seat, Bluetooth with music streaming, chrome gear knob detail, sunglasses holder and a driver information centre.

LTZ spec adds leather steering wheel, front fog lights, six speaker audio, rear parking sensors and automatic headlights on top of LT equipment. 

Child seats that fit a Chevrolet Aveo (2011 – 2015)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

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What's the Chevrolet Aveo (2011 – 2015) like to drive?

The Aveo is one of those cars that may not excel in any area but performs more than adequately in most. It's reasonably refined and rides very well for a small car, which helps with comfort levels, although taller drivers will find that the driver's seat is set a little too high. But all round visibility is good which makes it an easy car to drive in town or manouvre into tight parking spots.

Of course it's town and city driving which these sorts of cars are really designed for and the Aveo is happy nipping in and out traffic thanks to its light steering and responsive throttle. The gearchange on the manual cars isn't the best - it's positive enough but feels a little sticky at times but it's a far better option than the automatic.

This is a new six-speed auto called 'Hydra-Matic' which has been designed with efficiency in mind. It's fine as long as you don't rush it, but more often than not it's a frustrating gearbox to use as it saps power from the engine while asking for all-out performance results in high revs and lots of noise. Not pleasant. It does come with a button on the side allowing you to shift gears manually, but this makes little difference to how it performs.

The entry-level engine is a 1.2-litre petrol with 86bhp and 115Nm of torque. Those figures look respectable on paper, but  the four-cylinder is a lacklustre engine that lacks character. There's not much in the way of 'get up and go' about it and even with your foot to the floor, it fails to deliver even respectable performance. At least economy is respectable - the claimed figures say it will do 60.9mpg with CO2 emissions of 111g/km.

The 1.4-litre petrol is a better bet if you're doing any distance driving. It produces 100bhp and more torque, which helps it feel slightly more sprightly, if not exactly sparkling in terms of performance. It's certainly not as noisy at high revs as the 1.2-litre and unlike the smaller engine, is available with the automatic gearbox. Emissions are a 125g/km in the manual while opting for the auto sees this rise to 147g/km - a figure that is really too high for a car this size.

There is also a new 1.3-litre diesel offered with two outputs - a standard five-speed with 75bhp along with a special eco version that has 95bhp, a six-speed manual gearbox and an engine stop/start system. Both emit below 100g/km of CO2, making them free to tax and exempt from the London congestion charge.

On the motorway the Aveo is fairly quiet, although with any car this size there will always be a fair amount of road and engine noise. It's decent in corners too and there's not too much body roll. However, ultimately the Aveo is competent but nothing more. That's not a criticism, after all, the best cars at this level - like the Ford Fiesta - are considerably more expensive and not as well equipped for the money. But as the Suzuki Swift proves, you can have a value for money car that's still fun to drive, good quality and refined.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.2 48–60 mpg 13.1–13.6 s 111–138 g/km
1.3 VCDi 75 74 mpg 13.7–14.2 s 99 g/km
1.3 VCDi 95 69 mpg 12.1–12.6 s 95–108 g/km
1.3 VCDi 95 Ecodiesel 78–79 mpg 11.2–11.7 s 95–108 g/km
1.4 48–53 mpg 11.7–12.2 s 125–139 g/km
1.4 Automatic 42–46 mpg 12.6–13.1 s 145–159 g/km

Real MPG average for a Chevrolet Aveo (2011 – 2015)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

29–66 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Chevrolet Aveo (2011 – 2015)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Is the Chevrolet Aveo a reliable automatic?

I've been look at the specs of small automatics and have seen the 2012 Chevrolet Aveo 1.4 auto. I don't hear you mention these very often. It's a six-gear auto and it seems they're a similar price to the four-gear Suzuki Swift auto. I don't think the Chevy has the six-speed auto that Peugeot and Citroen have started to use. Is the Chevrolet a reliable automatic or would the Swift be a better option?
There is no UK Chevrolet presence in the UK and GM's Vauxhall presence has now been acquired by Peugeot, so support for Chevrolet will gradually diminish.
Answered by Honest John
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