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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Chevrolet Aveo Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Chevrolet Aveo Overview

The Little Chevrolet With a Big Heart

Everybody loves an underdog. As a nation, it's just in our blood to root for the little guy. Maybe that's why the new Chevrolet Aveo is darn likeable. The Aveo doesn't have great gobs of power under its hood, nor is it a terror on the track; it's just a solid little entry-level car with European inspired good looks and a miserly way with fuel.

Designed in the studios of renowned Italian automobile designer Giorgetto Giugiario, the Aveo strikes a perky, upbeat pose that is particularly likeable on the sporty five-door hatchback. The standard four-door Aveo is also quite attractive and offers the added security of an enclosed trunk. For an entry-level car, the Aveo comes pretty nicely equipped—especially considering its sub $10K price tag. You'll find three trim levels available: SVM, Base and LS.

The SVM (Special Value) car comes as is, with no options offered. Standard equipment includes AM/FM stereo, intermittent wipers, rear defogger, center console, Halogen headlamps, a rear wiper (five-door models), remote trunk and fuel door release, floor mats and dual front cup holders. The Base trim is the same as the SVM, but offers a short list of optional equipment. The LS trim adds in a CD player with MP3 capability, air conditioning, power door locks, power windows, keyless entry, heated mirrors with power passenger side mirror and fabric covered door trim.

Whether you opt for the Aveo in plain duds or fancy, you'll be getting the same efficient use of interior space. Though small on the outside, the Aveo's tall roofline provides for surprisingly good interior headroom both front and rear. Tall passenger's may want to ride up front, as legroom in the rear is better suited to those under six-feet tall. The elevated stadium rear seating allows passengers a good view out the front windshield and the side windows roll down far enough to let in lots of fresh air. Storage space is enhanced in both models, thanks to the 60/40 folding rear seats.

From the driver's seat, you'll find a simple, straight forward instrument panel and console. Again, considering the Aveo's price, the fit and finish of the interior materials is above expectation. Our LS model came with a handsome tweed cloth covering the firm and comfortable high-density foam seats. The two-tone dash was particularly upscale in appearance; the presence of a full set of gauges, including a tachometer, was an unexpected bonus.

Chevrolet has also paid considerable attention to safety, something small car owners always have in the back of their minds. The Aveo's structural cage features reinforced A, B and C pillars and a special energy-absorbing crumple zone to help move the impact force of an accident away from the passenger compartment. Standard safety equipment includes dual front air bags, a protective front seat knee bolster and optional anti-lock brakes. Inside each door is a rolled-form steel intrusion beam to protect in the event of a side impact.

On the road, the Aveo zooms along with little fuss. The trip from 0 to 60 is not mind boggling, but it is impressive considering the 1.6-liter engine produces only 103 horsepower. You can stick with the standard five-speed manual (our preference) or opt for a four-speed automatic (base and LS trim only). The automatic features a gated shifter for those who like to shift gears for themselves and a hold button that allows the car to start out in second gear (good for slippery road conditions).

The Aveo's engine is remarkably quiet, even under full throttle; similarly, the interior noise levels inside the cabin were more than acceptable. Acceleration is pretty good with only one person in the car, but load up the back seat and you'll feel the strain.

The driving experience is a pleasant one and the Aveo's firm suspension does a good job of absorbing road imperfections. The little 14 inch tires are designed more for fuel efficiency than road handling, but you can feel that the rack and pinion steering and taut spring/shock settings are probably capable of much more than the tires will allow. Opting for aftermarket 15 or 16-inch wheels may lose you a few miles-per-gallon, but we bet the little Aveo would return a much more go-kart like ride. If you choose to leave the standard tires in place, you can expect to be rewarded with fuel mileage figures somewhere in the range of 28-mpg city and 34-mpg highway.

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