2009 Chevrolet Aveo5 Review – A small car with some big competition

Chevrolet Expert Reviews

2009 Chevrolet Aveo5 at the gas pump

Built in South Korea by GM Daewoo, the Aveo5 is a solidly built little car. The body looks nicely bolted together and there aren’t any of the rattles or other noises that often indicate shoddy workmanship. The interior surfaces are also nicer than expected, with none of the shiny hard plastics that often accompany cheaper automobiles. On the down side, wind and road noise is quite high, enough to make having a conversation at normal volume difficult, especially while driving on the freeway. In addition, although the Aveo5 does feature front/side airbags and optional ABS brakes, more advanced safety features like traction and stability control are unavailable.

Chevrolet has actively advertised the Aveo5 as having a more roomy interior than its compact exterior would suggest, which is mostly right. The deep dashboard and sloping windshield help make the interior seem quite spacious, especially from the front seats, and hides the fact that the car is actually quite narrow. Head and leg room are quite good for a sub-compact, but nobody will confuse the Aveo5 for a Cadillac, especially on a long road trip. Unfortunately the trunk is very small and severely limits cargo capacity. Even with the rear seats folded down, fitting a bicycle in the back requires removing both wheels.

2009  Chevrolet Aveo5 - Rear Cargo Area 2009 Chevrolet Aveo5 - AM/FM Stereo with CD Player and Temperature Controls 2009 Chevrolet Aveo5 - Leatherette Seats

Our test car came packaged in the more upscale LT2 trim, which includes air conditioning, cruise control, and power windows/door locks as standard features. Also included is a premium 6 speaker CD stereo with satellite radio that sounds fantastic and wouldn’t be out of place in a much more expensive luxury car. The Aveo5 normally comes with cloth seats, but our tester came equipped with optional “leatherette” seats that are reminiscent of the bad vinyl interiors from the 1970′s. Why Chevrolet thinks people will spend an extra $375 for these smelly, sticky eyesores is a mystery to us.

Like many cars nowadays, the Aveo is the product of global collaboration, having been designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro’s Italdesign studios in Turin, Italy. The exterior has been refreshed for 2009, with the most noticeable change being a makeover of the front end of the car. The Aveo5 now features a bold, split front grill that is very similar to the one used on the much larger Chevy Malibu. When viewed strictly from the front it looks pretty good, but combine the aggressive front end with the Aveo5′s cute little rear and you have a strange mismatch that just doesn’t work. The 15″ steel wheels with cheap looking wheel covers also don’t help in the style department and they reinforce the Aveo’s status as budget transportation.

Value / Who Should Buy It
With high gas prices and a troubled economy driving Americans to rethink the size of their car purchases, the market for compacts and sub-compacts is red hot. Unfortunately, the Chevrolet Aveo5 is a less than stellar effort and will face tough competition from more capable cars in its class, such as the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, and Toyota Yaris. The Japanese have long dominated the compact and sub-compact segments of the market, and the Aveo5 does nothing to upset this dominance.

With an as-tested price of $17,260 and mediocre fuel efficiency for a small car (28 mpg average), the Aveo5 is not a good value, especially since you can buy a base model Corolla or Civic for the same price. Granted, our test car features some expensive options that some drivers won’t need. Stick with a manual transmission, keep the standard cloth seats, and forgo the fancy stereo, and you have a car that should sticker around $15,000. Plus, buyers should be able to wheel and deal a bit when shopping for an Aveo.

Build Interior Performance Handling Styling Value Overall
Rating 4.0 3.5 2.5 3.5 3.5 3.0 3.33/C+

2009 Chevrolet Aveo5 Photo Gallery

Chevy Aveo5

2009 Chevrolet Aveo5 Specs

Official website for Chevrolet cars, hybrids, trucks, and SUVs – www.chevrolet.com

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  • Amber says:

    I bought my Aveo 5 LT in August of 2009. In the first 3 moths of driving it i had to have the transmission replaced and the following month i had to get an entire new electrical system put into it. Now, a year later, my CV joints are going bad and also have to be replaced. In my opinion it’s definitely NOT worth the time or money to spend on this vehicle.

  • Tom says:

    Bought my Aveo5 in December 2009. Last one on the lot, dealer wanted to get it OFF the LOT for $8999, absolutely basic, no AC, no power anything…I had $1650 GM Card earnings….my auto insurance company offered a %750 incentive to purchase a Chevy vehicle. I drove it away…paying $7605 cash for a brand new car.

    So far, so good. Was getting 30mpg during a harsh winter in South Jersey Philadelphia, PA. Spent two summer months in the mountains of Vermont, it’s getting 33MPG…. Yes, it does not like steep inclines, so you do have to nurse it up the hills and be gentle as you can with the brakes on the declines. But I really like the car, it’s fairly comforatble…it’s roomy enough for what I need. and I got a new car for a amazing price. It’s worth taking a test drive to see if it is for you.

  • Derek says:

    Only 27 mpg? If I drive conservatively, my ’02 Acura RSX can get 30 mpg. On those days when the slow lane is just too boring, I have 200 hp on tap. I agree with Alex, the Aveo5 deserves a C+

    btw, Alex drives an Escape Hybrid. So he is all too familiar with slow and staying out of the fast-lane.

  • louise says:

    the newer aveo’s are especially much better built and have nicer equipment available. i have an aveo5 that i put 87,000 miles on, and as a young lady i had a heavy foot but my aveo was able to take it very well. i myself wanted another vehicle so the hubby can take the aveo to work instead of his SUV. yeah there are a lot of choices out there but i liked the aveo so much and trusted it so i purchased an aveo sedan. great price, both versions of the aveo have four doors which is important if you have kids or want a family. i get at least 27 miles per gallon, from the outside the trunk looks small but once the trunk is open, you see that there is much more cargo space available. perfect for groceries. theres just a lot to mention. whomever is reading this, test drive one for yourself, look at it inside and out and get your own opinion. they are better than this article is portraying

  • Aveo5luv says:

    Wow..I actually do commercials for some of the larger car companies, including Kia, Hyundai, Toyota, and Nissan dealers. I wanted to buy a car that I do commercials for so I tried. Tried hard to like the Honda FiT..yeesh..then I checked a Toyota Yaris, but could not get a decent price, and no automatics available..same story with Kia Rio. Hyundai makes a great car, but again no automatic Accents available, and price went up considerably. The Scions look like clown cars you see at the circus with all the clowns crawling out of it..Same with the Nissan “Cube” (not cheap)..and to add to it all, a very arrogant, and condescending team of sales “associates” who only wanted to steer me to the higher priced models..I was lookiong for a car to tow behind our RV

    So I went to my local hometown Chevrolet dealer. Nice folks, who wanted my business and wanted to sell me what I was looking for. We saw the Aveo 5, and loved it. We bought it for a modest 14,600 with an additional 500 rebate..our payments are practically nothing, and the car runs great. We traded in a Mercury Mountaineer, and enjoy driving this much more. Excellent stereo, On-Star is a plus, and it it totally comfortable to drive and really sips gas. Anyone who can poke a hole in this is an elitest. Also I have owned trucks and cars that have also has issues at 50-60 thousand miles..I now know how to take etter care of cars, and so fara have been happy with longevity. I suspect the Aveo will be the same story. If it is well taken care of, it should serve us well.

  • Doc says:

    I bought my Aveo5 in Sept… I’m getting great gas mileage and this little car is quick… Maybe the guy who wrote the article drives a Porsche or something fast. But this little car is comparable to my S-10 with a 4.3 ltr engine, in pickup and @ 70mph on the hwy gets 30 MPG… It handles like a go-cart. has the turning radius of a BIG WHEEL, and is real cool looking too. He must be a Benz owner, or has no clue about cars….. Oh and I got 0% interest from GMAC for 6 yrs… My payments are $175.00 a month, which includes 6 yr Warranty, 4 yr OnStar. I Love my AVEO5

  • Ted says:

    I too bought an Aveo5 and am not disappointed. I had intended to buy a Yaris 5-door, but the Yaris interior was absurd. The ride of the Yaris is very similar to the Aveo. The Honda Fit interior was glitzy but unimpressive. The Aveo was much easier to get in and out of, and more comfortable to drive. If I don’t feel comfortable driving a car I won’t buy it, period. The Koreans are catching up to the Japanese, and the quality is similar. If the aveo were made in America I doubt the quality would be as good as it is – and from what I see of it, it is very good.

  • phil says:

    I should say rather, the Aveo is made in Korea and assembled in China.

  • phil says:

    Just admit the truth Jeff. You got rejected for credit at the Honda dealer. You really shouldn’t purchase a car based on looks alone. Previous Aveos are notorious for falling apart at 80k – 100k miles. Enjoy your Daewoo Its manufactured in Korea, yo.

  • Derek says:

    Someday we’ll do a comparison that includes American, Japanese, and European car makers. We haven’t quite achieved the status of Car and Driver or Edmunds to have that much pull with the car makers and get everyone into one parking lot.

  • Jeff says:

    I have to say – what, apparently, DONT the asian automakers do better? As someone who test drove the Fit, Versa, and the JOKE of a Yaris – I was proud to give Chevrolet my business and by a black Aveo5 LT. I got a MUCH lower payment for a better-equipt, better driving, and better looking Chevy, and I appreciate the interior not looking like a puzzle (Fit) or an underdesigned wall of plastic. As far as road noise, have you DRIVEN a Versa?! I appreciate all opinions, and by no means am I only someone who supports the US Auto industry. I wanted to get a Fit – I PLANNED on getting a Fit… that is, until I took one look at, and drove, that Black Granite Metallic Aveo5. Kudos Chevy – you earned the sale. The other three – they blew it.

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