Apr 4 2009 Enda Mullen
Chevrolet Aveo 1.2 S
EVEN several years down the line it still seems slightly odd that what used to be Daewoos are now badged as Chevrolets.
Cynics might say you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear but under GM's protective parenting the rebranding of Daewoos as Chevvies would seem to have gone reasonably well.
There's no point pretending that reviving an almost legendary name (one that has been immortalised in song) would work miracles for what at the end of the day is a fairly unfashionable brand but it does at least seem to have had an influence.
Korean cars are taking great strides forward at the moment - just look at how brands like Kia and Hyundai have come on leaps and bounds in their bid to rival Japanese and European car makers.
With struggling Daewoo joining the GM empire a few years back one might have imagined that all its prayers were answered but no-one at that time was even considering that even global giants might be struggling for survival come 2009.
If GM is to survive and prosper it actually needs brands like Chevrolet.
With emerging car markets in China and India it is budget brands or what marketing types like to refer to as 'smart buys' that will help companies to achieve success.
As a cheap and cheerful supermini the Aveo isn't the sort of thing that is going to set the world alight but it does the job perfectly well.
I had good cause to be impressed with the car almost immediately, as it arrived in the midst of the severe snow storms that brought chaos to the roads recently.
There I was thinking I really did have the wrong sort of car for such inclement weather but to be fair it seemed to cope with the conditions pretty well.
In fact it felt pretty safe and assured and took them in its stride.
I say that because at around the same time an SUV I was driving did more than a little slipping and sliding around while a fairly prestigious executive saloon went for a little spin of its own (of the circular revolving kind).
Snow and ice capabilities apart the Aveo offers an acceptable rather than an engaging drive and is fairly comfortable to travel in.
As with most so-called small cars these days it has an impressive amount of interior space and I found it did the job as a practical everyday family motor pretty well.
Just as you get plenty of features on the outside you would normally expect to pay for - such as colour coded bumpers and mirrors - the inside too is well done out.
There are a few bits of cheap plastic but the integrated stereo in particular impressed and there's enough attention to detail and quality to make the Aveo seem a little more European in character.
All in all the Aveo represents a bit of a step-up for Chevrolet and though it's never going to set hearts racing is a fairly decent value for money small car.
Prices start at £7,765 for the 1.2 S three-door model, which will return 51.4mpg on the combined cycle. There is also a 1.4-litre version, with prices starting at £9,545. The top of the range 1.4 LT Auto costs £10,645.
Chevrolet Aveo 1.2 S 5dr
Mechanical: 83bhp, 1,206cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 106mph
0-62mph: 12.8 seconds
Combined mpg: 51.4
Insurance group: 4
CO2 emissions: 132g/km
BiK rating: 15%
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles