Unless you're a die-hard Chevy fan, keep shopping
The 2009 Chevy Aveo is largely carryover from the 2008 model, the only major exception being that the 1.6-liter four cylinder with variable valve timing is now standard on all Aveo models as well, as is GM's OnStar in-car telematics system.
No. The 2009 Chevy Aveo does have merits such as a comfortable ride and nicely thought-out dash, but otherwise it's far outclassed by all of its rivals in the marketplace, particularly cars like the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa.
Generally speaking, sedans are considered more conservative than hatchbacks. Although we're not particularly fond of the Aveo5's new nose, we will admit it's more aggressive than the sedan version's chrome grille, and it's possible buyers would be put off.
We can envision die-hard Chevy or domestic-only types seeking out a 2009 Chevy Aveo. Otherwise, the little Chevy is outclassed by virtually every other car in its class. Specific examples are the 2009 Suzuki SX4, which has more power and better handling, and the 2009 Toyota Yaris, which offers more sophisticated styling and a higher-quality feel.
While the 2009 Chevy Aveo subcompact sedan carries a domestic nameplate, it's actually built in Korea by GM's Daewoo subsidiary. It comes in three trim levels – LS, 1LT and 2LT – all of which are powered by a 106-hp four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing.
The base model is the LS, which starts at $12,625 including the $660 destination charge. It's one of the few cars left on the market that really qualifies for the "base" name, too: no air conditioning, no power windows or door locks. You get a manual transmission, a radio (which does sport an auxiliary input), and power steering. The next level up is the 1LT, which costs $14,760 and adds air conditioning, an audio system with a CD player and MP3 compatibility, and floormats. The top level is the 2LT, which for $16,025 throws in cruise control, foglights, power door locks, a driver information center, power windows and other modern accessories. Power door locks and windows are available on the 1LT as part of a $425 option package, and a four-speed automatic transmission is available across the board for an additional $925.
While the 2009 Chevy Aveo offers a comfortable ride and cleanly styled interior, that's about the extent of the little Chevy's pluses. Its exterior styling trades the Aveo5 hatchback's odd nose for a plain-Jane wrapper, the engine is gutless and noisy, the trunk is small and the rear seat is excessively cramped. Worst of all, there's an inescapable feeling of cheapness that pervades the car, even though many of the materials inside feel durable and assembly is good overall. Compared to the modern crop of subcompacts, the 2009 Chevy Aveo primarily feels dated, as much of its competition has left it behind with more features, higher quality, more refinement, and in many cases, all three.
By Keith Buglewicz Photo credit: Ron Perry