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Our first 2004 Chevy Aveo came through yesterday, on its way to Enterprise. I didn't have a chance to drive it, but I did get to climb all around it, play with the playables, and inspectables.

This was a red four-door base model. My impressions on the styling are of tidiness and space-efficiency, Toyota Echo style. In this four-door, space-efficiency comes at the expense of dumpiness, with the short front and tall rear. It's not a wedge, more of a jelly-bean, but it's not a bad looking jelly bean. The only styling gripes that car people will have are applicable to all of the Aveo's competitors: too-small wheels, and a dorky-looking butt, though far less dorky than the Echo's rear end. All in all, the four-door won't impress anyone with its hipness, and the front-end styling is surprisingly handsome and not-cheap looking. Furthermore, the 5-door hatch should be right sharp looking, and better-looking, inside and out, than the Suzuki Aerio, if not as powerful.

The interior quirky, upscale, and sharp. The details that are most instantly noticed are in the tight center stack that is modern in appearance, and is neither sloppy nor void (sensu the black plastic expanse of the Toyota Corolla). Unlike the Echo, the gauge cluster is right where it's supposed to be, and it's big and informative. The inside door latch is obviously cheap plastic, but the impact is minimized by its round shape that is out of the driver's line of sight. Pull-handles have a grey carbon-fiber look that don't try to disguise itself as carbon fiber, but instead potray themselves as nicer than black or grey textured vinyl. The seats look good, and have a height adjustment. They won't be mistaken for Recaros, and they won't be anyone's first choice for 18-hour road trips, but they're ideal for sitting on while you drive. The steering wheel seems like it is a half-inch too wide in diameter, and I wasn't able to test the grip or feel while driving. As a final note, the automatic's shift lever had a neat looking stainless steel gate.

I looked the whole car over for anything that could be construed as a lapse in fit-and-finish and I could find none. The assembly detail is really good, and none of the interior pieces, adjustors, handles, et cetera feel like they could come off in your hands. As we all know from Volkswagen's initial quality record, this certainly doesn't mean the car will be good, but the tight, even gaps and nice-looking materials are quite reassuring, especially for a $10,000 car.

I look forward to driving an Aveo hatch with a 5-speed.

My verdict so far: nothing to be ashamed of.

Ghrankenstein
 

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The hatch looks so much better than the "sedan" that I can't understand why anyone would buy the sedan.

For such a small car, I wonder what the benefit of having a trunk is....
 

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I think this thing will waffle-stomp the Echo.. The Echo is a very cheap looking car, with a good powertrian...
 

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I saw an Aveo on the street for the first time recently. It was sitting ahead of a Mini. A very fetching Mini S in British Racing Green with a white top and big wheels. Black leather. It was gorgeous, looking strikingly expensive despite its tiny size. Desireable enought to tempt a 911 driver to trade down.

Parked behind it was an Aveo. Kinda silvery gray. Gray interior. ZZZZzzzzzz. But suddenly, it didn't look so bad as my eye caught the tight seams and perfect panel alignments. A quality piece. The Mini, despite its overall off-the-scale desirable quotient, looked a little slapped together by comparison.

You still coundn't pay me to be seen in an Aveo, but at least someone who is so willing won't completely embarrass himself.
 

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Originally posted by ilaoc77+Mar 26 2004, 02:28 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (ilaoc77 @ Mar 26 2004, 02:28 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-Ming@Nov 25 2003, 10:46 PM
The hatch looks so much better than the "sedan" that I can't understand why anyone would buy the sedan. 

For such a small car, I wonder what the benefit of having a trunk is....
Hey man.. i depend on that trunk.. haha

(yes, i own a 2004 Chevrolet Aveo sedan, blue with a 5-spd... the SVM!) [/b][/quote]
Just put on some bronze wheels, a turbo hood scoop, and big round fog lights, and its a Subaru WRX!

OK, maybe not. :p

 

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i love how GM touts the "italian" styling! sure, technically it might have been styled in italy... but the aveo t'aint no classic alfa romeo! just a tag-line. makes me laugh!

that said, i'm as impressed as ghrank with initial impressions. it hits the mark quite nicely. perhaps the ugly, inflated rump is a necessary evil in these little econoboxes... the geo metro had it, echo has it, rio has it... accent isn't too bad, but still not very nice. cargo sapce versus attractiveness, i suppose. hatch has enough spunk to make it cool... or almost.

i can't wait to see the optra5 (suzuki reno, i think in the southern 49 provinces). the optra sedan looks well put together, and the optra5 aims to be a more attractive (and useful) car.
 
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