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"GMI Reviews: 2004 Chevorlet Aveo"
You Certainly Get More Than You Expect!
June, 15 2004

2004 Chevrolet Aveo

It has been a long time since a car in General Motor's American lineup has been under $10,000, they finally are getting one, and it may just be a true contender. The other day I took the new 2004 Chevrolet Aveo for a road test, and my findings were certainly surprising. When I went to test drive it, I came with low expectations. Like most people would think, I thought that the car would just be a basic, sub-compact car that most buyers would use to commute with. I was wrong.


When the Aveo first came to the market Chevrolet made a immense deal about the fact that it was designed in Italy. Well, being based off of the Daewoo Kolas, and after seeing it, I don’t think the Italians had to work very hard on the Aveo’s design. Just changing the grille was not a grueling undertaking. Overall the Aveo’s exterior design is not terrible. The front it a little unusual and lack aggression, but it is a sub-compact, and aggression is not its vital position. When compared to the Hyundai Accent and other sub-compacts its design is about average and certainly does not look any worse. However I am not too fond of the five-door, it is kind of strange looking when compared to the Suzuki Aerio.


All Aveo’s come with a standard 1.6 Litre DOCH I-4 powertrain, and 5-spd manual transmission, mine had the 4-spd automatic. Yet again I was surprised, with the power of this sub-compact. I have driven a couple other subs and the Aveo definitely could outpower most, if not all of the vehicles in the segment. With 105 horsepower on tap the car easily met all of my expectations while driving at any speed. My only complaint about the engine is the noise; it gives off a lot of engine noises that are not very pleasant.

The handling is pretty good for a car of its size and class. It does have a lot of body roll though, lowering the greatness of the handling. Other than that I really have no complaints on its handling or dynamics.


The Aveo’s interior was one of my lowest expectations when it came to quality. Turns out I should have thought just the opposite! When I got inside the car I was in shock. It resembles a much more expensive vehicle interior than it actually is. Sure, it’s not a wonderful interior, but it is certainly much better than some of the other sub-compacts. One other thing that impresses me is that the Aveo has a small stereo! Its not one of those huge Delphi stereos, like the rest of the GM lineup. With GM’s not-so-good past when it comes to interiors, the Aveo shows that GM is starting to learn how to make an interior great, even on one of the cheapest cars in America.


Most sub-compact buyers have a low expectation of the vehicle that they are going to buy, as I did before I drove the Aveo. I think after a sub-compact buyer drives the Aveo, their expectations in a car will raise. The overall pricing is great for the car. Its too bad GM has to have a $1,000 increase on the Aveo's price due to the fact that they have to pay the UAW $1,000 for ever vehicle made. The Aveo is a significant small car that should not be overlooked, and for those Hyundai Accent and Toyota Echo buyers, it’s foreign-made.

Overall Rating: 9.0/10.0

Highs: Good Handling, Great Interior, Imported
Lows: Small Trunk, Odd Styling, A Bit of Body Roll

Recommendation Level: 8/10
Main Competitors: Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Toyota Echo

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I saw an Aveo on the street for the first time a while back. 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 guy with a 911 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, not even a rented one, but at least someone who is drives one won't completely embarrass himself.

And, may I suggest, with the Koreans doing this kind of a high-quality build they may well have a future in the luxury market - not anytime very soon, but they've clearly got what it takes.
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