2008 Chevrolet Aveo Expert Review

You'll Like The 2008 Chevrolet Aveo If...

If you're looking for budget-conscious, efficient basic transportation you'll like the Aveo LT. Practical, utilitarian and with no complicated high-tech systems to learn, the little sedan is also a good choice for RVers looking for a haul-behind car. Another plus: The high seating position for driver and passenger.

You May Not Like The 2008 Chevrolet Aveo If...

You may not like the LT if you expect instant response from the automatic transmission. You may also find that child carseats are the best bet for occupying the back seat. With the front seats all the way back, there is very minimal legroom for rear-seat passengers.

What's New

Fresh from its 2007 makeover, the 2008 Aveo has only minor changes. A tire-pressure monitoring system is standard across the line and LT trims receive 15-inch aluminum wheels and chrome door handles.

Interior Features

Small touches of metallic grain and satin chrome trim give an upscale look to the interior. Front seats with tilt headrests, storage pockets in doors and seatbacks, a sunglass holder and six-way adjustable driver's seat are features you'd expect in a higher-priced car. The dashboard is simplicity at its best, clearly showing all the information the driver needs. The front passenger seat reclines and, with a trunk capacity of 12.4 cubic feet and rear 60/40-split seats that fold almost flat, there's plenty of room for good-sized boxes or long, skinny stuff like skis.

Exterior Features

A full-featured economy subcompact built by General Motors Daewoo in Korea, the Aveo LT is a competently-designed four-door whose sheetmetal blends smoothly together to present a neat package. The V-shaped hood and strong grille reveal its Chevrolet heritage and emphasize its wide stance. Large "shoulders" over the wheels, oversized front and rear lights and a height of almost five feet give it the appearance of a larger sedan.

Driving Impressions

Driving a car as uncomplicated as the Aveo LT releases you from constantly checking the myriad of messages or dealing with the intricate controls found on the lavish instrument panels in pricier cars. With an eye occasionally on the speedometer, the driver is free to enjoy the surprising capabilities of the Aveo LT's zippy little 103-horsepower engine. There is no available stability-control system, although anti-lock brakes (ABS) are an option. A slight lean is noticeable on corners taken at speed but the overall driving experience is precise and pleasant, with the car holding the line during straight, hard braking. As to be expected from this category of car, some tire, wind and engine noise is par for the course.

Pricing Notes

The 2008 Chevrolet Aveo has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) ranging from about $10,500 for the SVM five-door to nearly $17,000 for a loaded Aveo LT sedan. Comparably-equipped models from Toyota and Honda cost a bit more, but have longer histories and better resale values. On the other hand, the Aveo matches rivals from Hyundai and Kia in price, but not warranty. Before you buy, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price, which represents prices consumers are actually paying in your area.

Notable Equipment

Despite its entry-level status, the Aveo LT offers a surprising amount of useful equipment found on more expensive cars, including remote keyless entry with alarm, cruise control, air conditioning with rear vents, side airbags and power heated sideview mirrors. The remote trunk release saves time fumbling with keys and the rear window defogger, tilt steering column and adjustable headrests are unexpected extra conveniences. Music lovers will appreciate the LT's standard CD/MP3 player and 180-watt six-speaker system with auxiliary input jack. Power windows and door locks lift this model above many of its similarly-priced competitors.

Notable Options

The four-speed automatic overdrive transmission with Hold Control uses adaptive-shift technology. It helps to reduce wheel spin and loss of traction by allowing the driver to manually select and then hold a gear so that torque to the wheels is reduced, much as with a true manual transmission. Like audio controls at your fingertips? The Aveo LT has them at thumb level on the steering wheel. Other options include a sunroof, leatherette seats, fog lamps, a rear spoiler, an engine block heater and an anti-theft system.

Favorite Features

Auxiliary Audio Input Jack
With an eye on youthful buyers who enjoy music 24/7, the Aveo LT has an auxiliary input jack for iPods and other music players and electronic devices.

Fuel Economy
Saving on fuel bills is high on many folks' lists and Aveo buyers are obviously looking for this benefit. The LT with automatic transmission rewards you with 26 mpg city and 34 mpg highway, depending on road conditions and driving style.

Under the Hood

General Motors' 16-valve four-cylinder engine powers the Aveo LT, producing 103 horsepower. An electronic throttle control and variable induction system help maximize power across the rpm range for consistency and fuel economy, and the four-speed automatic transmission's Hold Control mode provides a pseudo-manual operation the driver can select for sportier or more controlled driving.

1.6-liter in-line 4
103 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
107 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34 (manual), 23/32 (automatic)

Editors' Notes

The 2008 Chevrolet Aveo, a smartly styled subcompact, offers excellent fuel economy, a long list of standard features and a bargain-basement price. The Aveo's appeal extends to budget-conscious first-time buyers, retired folks on limited incomes and those looking for a thrifty second car. Available as a sedan or five-door hatch, the Aveo's uncommonly high roof means tall occupants can sit comfortably both front and rear, a major bonus for those who might stay clear of small cars due to their cramped interiors.

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