$2,049 - $3,328

2009 Chevrolet Aveo Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Chevrolet Aveo was new.


Performance: 6.7

Test drivers compare the 2009 Chevrolet Aveo's driving excitement to that of watching grass grow. On the plus side, both the sedan and hatchback get great gas mileage, and handling is pleasing for a city commute.

  • "For anyone who seeks some modicum of pleasure from driving, even in an activity as mundane as commuting, this car is exactly as entertaining as televised ice fishing." -- Car and Driver
  • "It gets decent marks for ride, acceleration and handling. You won't walk home. But neither will you write sonnets praising its performance." -- Washington Post
  • "I was regularly amazed by how good the ride quality is and found myself looking for imperfections in the road to challenge it with. From an urban commuting standpoint, this is the way a car like this should feel, with no pretense of being a sports car, just pure competence at what it needs to do: go from A to B with a stopover at Starbucks. On the other hand, if you are a highway star, you'd better spend some time in the Aveo5 before committing to a long-term relationship." -- Fox News
  • "Driving a car as uncomplicated as the 2009 Chevrolet Aveo 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's miserly 106-horsepower engine." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

With a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 103 horsepower and 107 pound-feet of torque, the Aveo doesn't have much power. Not only that, but reviewers say acceleration is slow with either the five-speed manual transmission or the four-speed automatic. Still, most reviewers say that the car does well with the power it has. The Aveo still has a marginal advantage over much of its class when it comes to fuel economy, which has improved for 2009 thanks to the engine's new variable valve timing. According to the EPA, both the sedan and hatchback should achieve 27/34 mpg city/highway with a manual transmission, and 25/34 mpg city/highway with the automatic.

  • "All models of the Aveo are motivated by the same 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, which receives variable valve timing for 2009. Output is still quite meager, with only 107 horsepower and 106-pound-feet of torque on tap. Combine this small motor with an over 2,500 lb curb weight and a 4-speed automatic transmission with wide gear ratios, and you have a recipe for slow acceleration." -- Car Review
  • "The bad news about such a low end power/torque rating (though to be fair, it is competitive in this segment) is that it takes a while to get up to highway speeds -- and if you want to pass you'd better do your planning before pulling out into the other lane. The upside is that, since there's little torque, there's little torque steert when you start up and once you're up to speed, the car zips along very nicely and is actually quite a bit of fun to drive." -- Post Chronicle
  • "I thought the engine's power was adequate. Actually, the automatic transmission really surprised me with its smooth upshifts and prompt downshifts." -- About.com
  • "Our experience was with the 5-speed manual and if there's an advantage to the Aveo5's minimalist performance, it's that it can be driven flat out most of the time. Rev it to the redline bang off a shift and no one's the wiser. ... It's been said that it's more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow. If so, the Aveo5 is ecstacy on wheels." -- Washington Examiner
  • "My associate, Ria Manglapus, loved the fuel economy of this one, especially in the city where it got 27 miles per gallon. This is a right-lane car on the highway, where it gets 34 miles per gallon." -- Washington Post

Handling and Braking

The Aveo doesn't have the fun-to-drive personality of the class leaders, but the majority of test drivers find its ride agreeable for daily commuting.

  • "While the 2009 Chevrolet Aveo is certainly no thrill ride, it provides respectable vehicle dynamics. The steering is direct and the suspension is well-tuned for day-to-day commuting." -- Edmunds
  • "The suspension is tuned perfectly for potholed and pitted city streets, soaking up the biggest bumps without any pain being transferred to your Dockers, which were only worn for the purposes of this test." -- Fox News
  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Nimble enough due to its petite size and responsive steering, though some testers say steering effort is a bit heavy at low speeds. The brakes provide decent stopping control but are nothing special in terms of pedal feel." -- Consumer Guide

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