Review: Chevrolet Orlando (2011 – 2015)

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Seven seats as standard. Easy and comfortable to drive. Decent value and well equipped. Five year/100,000 mile warranty. Chain-cam diesel engine.

Entry-level 1.8-litre petrol is a bit underwhelming.

Chevrolet Orlando (2011 – 2015): At A Glance

Chevrolet is a brand that has big plans for the future and they start with the Orlando. It's the first MPV from the firm since the awkwardly styled Tacuma (which was an old Daewoo model from 2000), a car that found few buyers. But the seven-seat Orlando is a different kettle of fish altogether and marks a new future for Chevrolet. A future which looks very bright if this is a taste of things to come.

It's nothing revolutionary or exciting, but Chevrolet has managed to get the key things right. The Orlando is easy to drive, it's spacious inside, has seven useable seats and is good value. Add in neat looks, good diesel engines and Chevrolet's five-year/100,000 mile warranty and it's not hard to see why this is an attractive package and a very strong alternative to established MPVs from the likes of Ford and Renault, as well those from Chevrolet's more direct competitors like Hyundai and Kia.

It stands out thanks to chunky styling which seems to be a combination between MPV and crossover (if such a thing exists) but the main thing is that it's distinctive and - dare we say it - quite handsome too. It's actually based on the Chevrolet Cruze and uses similar engines. Under the bonnet, there's a choice of three units, one petrol engine -  a 1.8 litre with 141bhp and two diesel units, the latest version of Chevrolet's 2.0 litre engine available with either 131bhp or the top 163bhp version.

But what is most impressive about the Orlando is the practicality it offers. The 'theatre-style' seating as Chevrolet rather grandly refer to it as, means that those in the back still get a good view forward, even from the third row, which is a must for travel sick youngsters. There are numerous seating layouts available with flat fold seats making changing the interior about a doddle. Storage seems endless with a huge number of cubbies and boxes dotted about.

And the name? Well apparently Chevrolet chose Orlando because it's where Disneyland is and because it’s synonymous with family fun. But this is certainly no Mickey Mouse MPV, instead it's a great value people carrier that has plenty to recommend it.

Road Test and Video Chevrolet Orlando Range  2010

Road Test Chevrolet Orlando 2.0 VCDi 163 2011

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

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

Length 4652 mm
Width 1836 mm
Height 1633 mm
Wheelbase 2760 mm

Full specifications

The interior of the Orlando has been cleverly designed so it does feel like a genuinely useable seven-seater, rather than a five-seat MPV that's simply had two extra seats stuck in where the boot is. The theatre-style seating means that even those in the rearmost seats can see forward although the upswept design of the windows for the third row mean it can feel a little gloomy. However headroom is still good, despite the rising seats.

There's reasonable legroom in the third row for younger children and for adults for short distances plus access is good too thanks to outer seats in the middle row that fold down and flip up, albeit with a mechanism that can take some getting used to. They sort of roll and fold forward but getting to the handle that releases them is very difficult if you're sat in the third row, almost impossible in fact. Another gripe is that with all seven seats in place you have to remove the retractable load cover and there's nowhere for it to live in the car so you have to leave it at home.

Of course the majority of time, most MPV driver's only have five seats in use and the fact that the extra seats fold down flat means changing between the two modes is easy. As you can see in our pictures, folding down all the seats is simple and creates a long and wide load floor while giving almost 1500 litres of carrying space, which is ideal for trips to B&Q or for taking the Christmas Tree for recycling in the new year.

The standard boot space with five seats in place is good and there's only a tiny boot lip, so unloading heavier items is easy. With the rear seats in place the boot is cut to just 89 litres which is okay for a few bags of shopping. There's also undefloor storage beneath a flap just in front of the rear bumper sill and two extra triangular compartments behind either wheel arch.

Elsewhere in the cabin there are a range of compartments of different shapes and sizes situated in the centre console, front and rear doors, rear cargo area and also the roof. One very clever 'secret' space is hidden behind the front fascia of the stereo, but still within easy reach of the both the driver and passenger.You just flip up th face of the stereo and behind it there's a good-sized storage box that's ideal for keeping iPods or wallets out of view. It also houses the a USB port (on LT models and above) - ideal for re-charging an MP3 or iPod on the move. To keep an eye on everyone in the back (and prevent too much misbehaving), there's a rearseat view mirror which is fitted just behind the normal rearview mirror and gives a panoramic view of all the seats.

The overall build quality feels very good and the interior seems well finished, especially on top models which get a neat gloss black trim on the centre console and around the stereo (see the picture above). The entry-level versions aren't quite as snazzy and appear dull in comparison but neverthelessit's still the best interior Chevrolet has produced to date. All the controls are logically laid out and clearly marked. The steering wheel looks good and is nice to hold while the driving position is pretty much spot on for a people carrier - high enough to give a good view out but not so high that you feel like you're sitting on, rather than in it.

Standard equipment from launch (March 2011):

LS is the entry-level trim and has ESC stability control, air conditioning, follow me home headlights, electric windows, electric mirrors, remote central locking, six airbags, three 12v power sockets, tinted windows, adjustable steering wheel, a backseat view mirror plus a hidden cubby behind the stereo fascia.

LT adds 16-inch alloy wheels with 215/60 R16 tyres, rear parking sensors, a USB port, climate control, a chrome-effect tailgate handle, driver’s armrest, leather steering wheel, front foglights, electric rear windows, and an upgraded sound system with steering wheel controls.

LTZ is the top trim level and gets 17-inch alloy wheels with 225/50 R17 tyres, cruise control, an electro chromatic rear view mirror, automatic headlights and wipers, blue ambient panel lighting, a piano black gloss centre console, electric folding door mirrors, a rear cargo net and chrome effect body detailing.

LTZ with the Executive Pack costs £2000 extra and adds 18-inch alloy wheels with 235/45 R18 tyres, full leather upholstery, heated front seats and satellite navigation.

Child seats that fit a Chevrolet Orlando (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.

Which car seat will suit you?

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

Few MPVs are sparkling to drive and the Orlando isn't one of them. But then it's not really supposed to be. Instead it's easy and relaxing from behind the wheel with light controls and fairly positive manual gearchange. It's adequate but not especially memorable. Parking and tight manoeuvres are made easier thanks to the light steering and visibility is generally good, although the rear pillars are a bit thick. Fortunately all models, with the exception of the entry LS version, have rear parking sensors fitted.

It rides well and is fairly softly sprung so it's good over bumps and potholes but the trade off is roll in corners which is especially noticeable with a full complement of passengers plus luggage on board. The ride quality deteriorates markedly on the top spec 18-inch alloys with 235/45 R18 tyres and really undermines comfort for everyone travelling,

There's only one petrol engine available - a 1.8-litre four-cylinder unit with variable valve timing that produces 141bhp and 176Nm of torque. It's not a bad engine but is underwhelming when you compare it to other petrols like Ford's new 1.6-litre EcoBoost unit, although it's at least fairly economical with a claimed average of 39mpg while CO2 emissions are 172g/km.

Chevrolet expects most people will go for a diesel Orlando and it's easy to see why. The 2.0-litre diesel engine is available in two versions - a standard 130bhp model and a higher power 163bhp variant. The more powerful version is the only Orlando available with an automatic gearbox which is a six-speed transmission which delivers smooth if not especially fast changes.

It's a strong and smooth diesel which is fairly quiet on the move too, thanks to decent sound insulation. Like the handling, it's nothing to write home about, but goes about its business in a fuss free and straightforward manner. Both power variants come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard and most driver's will find the 130bhp version more than adequate for everyday driving.

It has 315Nm of torque which is available at 2000rpm plus it delivers its power smoothly across the rev range. Our one criticism is that coming off the power seems to make the Orlando slightly jolt as if it's braking, so it's not always a smooth car to drive if you're in traffic. The more powerful verison has the same issue, but both versions are efficient and return a claimed 47mpg while CO2 emissions of 159g/km mean they sit inside the UK company write-down limit for business users.

The 163bhp variant has more torque with 360Nm but rarely feels that much quicker in normal driving, either away from a standstill or when accelerating in-gear, for instance when joining a motorway. But if you want to the top LTZ model this is the only diesel available - the 130bhp version only comes in LS and LT trims.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.4 Turbo 40–44 mpg 10.6–11.0 s 149–164 g/km
1.4 Turbo Automatic 40 mpg 11.2 s 164 g/km
1.8 39–40 mpg 11.2–11.6 s 164–172 g/km
1.8 Automatic 35–36 mpg 11.4–11.8 s 184–186 g/km
2.0 VCDi 130 47–53 mpg 9.9–10.5 s 139–159 g/km
2.0 VCDi 163 47–53 mpg 9.7–10.3 s 139–159 g/km
2.0 VCDi 163 Automatic 40–44 mpg 9.6–10.6 s 169–186 g/km

Real MPG average for a Chevrolet Orlando (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

21–48 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 Orlando (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

Should I keep my Chevrolet Orlando?

I purchased a 1.8 manual Chevrolet Orlando with 10,000 miles on the clock in April 2013 for £7500. However, I’ve just heard that Chevrolet is planning to pull out of Europe so how will this affect me? Should I try and sell now? My gut feel is that as it all works perfectly then keep it, service it well and it should look after me well. As it's Vauxhall's standard 1.8 engine I can't imagine anything really going wrong with it. What do you think?
It was cheap for what it is, though pre reg unused Zafira B 1.6s have been going for £9,995. I wouldn't worry. Make a good taxi.
Answered by Honest John
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