The first decade of the 20th century saw a rapid increase in the price of petroleum products. The hulking gas guzzlers of the past suddenly became too cost prohibitive and soon lost their appeal. The new norm dictated that cars be small and economical. The Chevrolet Aveo was General Motor’s answer to the shifting demands of the public. It was very affordable and its fuel consumption was low, but compromises to the vehicle’s design and quality were evident.
2002 – First incarnation as the Kalos
The Aveo was the first vehicle produced by Daewoo following its bankruptcy and subsequent takeover by General Motors. The vehicle would eventually be rebranded by GM and sold under the new name, Chevrolet Aveo.
2004 – First Generation
The first Chevy Aveo was available as a Sedan or a Hatchback. The vehicles were initially powered by a 103-horsepower 1.6-liter inline-four engine. Transmission options included a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic.
In 2005, the sedan received a facelift and other changes that included an updated instrument panel, interior styling changes and equipment changes. Basic amenities included power steering and an AM/FM radio while the more luxurious amenities included an MP3 audio system, air conditioning, and keyless entry. In 2006, additional safety features were added to the Aveo like front airbags and side airbags. Other improvements added were improved suspension, cruise control and optional alloy wheels.
In 2007, it was the hatchback’s turn to be given a facelift with the corresponding changes to the interior styling and the instrument panel, among others. The engine was upgraded in 2009, putting out 107 horsepower and again in 2010 with 109 horsepower. Gears ratios were also changed for 2010, allowing the engine to travel farther with relatively fewer revolutions and increasing fuel efficiency.
The Aveo was considered adequate enough in most aspects. Handling was forgettable, engine power was just good enough and the interior was bearable. All this was mostly due to the compromises made to reach an affordable price. Despite these faults, the Aveo remained a popular option for price-conscious buyers. Sales of the Aveo would soon fall, overtaken by other subcompact vehicles.
2011 – Reincarnation as the Chevrolet Sonic
The sub-par performance of the Aveo convinced General Motors to scrap the line for 2011. In its place was the new Chevrolet Sonic. The new compact car improves on many of the weakest aspects of the while still remaining low-priced and economical.