They Chevy Aveo started its life as a slight rework of GM’s then Korean arm Daewoo. It wasn’t great, as far as cheap cars go, but it was cheap, as far as new cars go. There are people who need cheap, reliable transportation. The Aveo eventually became the Spark (also built by GM’s Korean arm, which is now just GM Korea). This car was better, by a decent margin. The Spark was discontinued after GM realized the Chevy Trax was a better fit for the market, at least in the United States. In Mexico, the Aveo soldiers on and the 2024 version comes courtesy of GM’s Chinese partnership with SAIC. It looks nice.
This five-door hatchback will replace the outgoing four-door sedan and offer a lot of features not always found standard on Mexican market cars, including disc brakes at all corners and parking assist sensors. Underneath is a platform developed by SAIC-GM-Wuling for the Wuling Xing Chi Crossover (you can read about it here) and other new vehicles. Why does the Aveo still exist? Good names are hard to come by, which is why Ford still sells Escorts in China. I bring all this up because Mercedes made an off-hand joke in her Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 holy grail piece about Chevy Aveos:
I love that every car out there has someone who loves it. I bet there are even diehard Chevy Aveo lovers somewhere in the universe!
It’s true, and 3wiperB unfortunately knows them:
I feel like I know one of those people. He at least loved it enough to buy a second Aveo, and then when they didn’t make them any more, he got a Chevy Spark. He made me ride in it to a work project site one day about 2 hours each way on the interstate. It had to have been the loudest car I’ve ever been in. I could barely hold a conversation with him due to a complete lack of any sound insulation.
What really irritated me was that I had offered to drive, but he had insisted. It was about 85 degrees that day, and about 15 minutes into the trip he said, I forgot to tell you, the AC is broken. Luckily the noise level in the car was pretty much the same with the windows open as with them closed. I can’t think of a more miserable car ride that I’ve ever been on.
That doesn’t sound like a lot of fun but, on the upside, that’s nicer than any four cars David owns at any moment.
Photos: GM via GMAuthority
The old Aveo became the Sonic. The Spark was a class lower. The Sonic was also made in Michigan for the US market.
My experience in an Aveo is limited to a single rental; I was trying to economize and took the poor-man’s special that (Hurts? Aphids? Half-a-Dollar?) was offering for a weekend. I got an automatic, of course, and it was the flimsiest excuse for a car I have ever driven, and that includes the infamous “Pontiac Lemans” by Kia AND Chevette automatic. This thing was pitiful. I literally and honestly stopped on the side of the highway to check and see if the parking brake was stuck on. None of the wheels was hot though so I finally accepted that was just a normal lack of power.
I can’t imagine anyone owning one by choice even if a fake Chinese one IS an improvement over the original Aveo.
The Pontiac LeMans was actually built by Daewoo. Kia built the Ford Festiva. And I have driven both, an Aveo and a Chevette.
The Chevette is passable. The others? Never again!
I mean, the c-pillar treatment is a bit of a mess, but for a bit under $14,000, that’s a reasonably sharp looking car
“That doesn’t sound like a lot of fun but, on the upside, that’s nicer than any four cars David owns at any moment.”
That’s nicer than the sum total of at least four cars David currently owns.
They also have a 2nd gen Dodge Journey which is a rebadged Trumpchi
What kills me about the Chinese Escort is how it definitely looks like what the last U.S. domestic model would have evolved into were it still produced – it’s got a cool fairly classic sedan stance, just with the current Ford design language. I love my Focus, but would totally have bought that Escort if were available.
Note to self: when searching for “Chinese Escort” in google, make sure the word “Ford” is present …
my god I was about to do this, lmao
“that’s nicer than any four cars David owns at any moment”
But apparently not as nice as the U-Haul.
David doesn’t own that U-Haul. Yet.
Rust + time = David’s collection
My cousins now-wife had an Aveo for years. It was a ‘This cheap 800 dollar car will get me by for a couple months, Ill get a nice one when it dies’. It lasted for YEARS with basically nothing. It might be a shitbox, but it got you around.
Wow, I read this as ‘My cousin now wife’ which gave it a different spin
Mine (not my cousin’s now wife) lasted 16 years. With a shorted taillight circuit and non-functioning alarm system, I’m now forced to donate it to charity.
Sounds like someone I know who bought an old Grand Am for cheap with the idea that she’d drive it for a couple of years until it died and then get something nicer. The stupid car ran for like 10 years with no major problems. She finally got rid of it because the transmission started to slip badly enough that it became a hazard when crossing intersections.
The Cavalier does too, and it looks nice.
Had one of these as a rental – my friend rented it for a trip from Michigan to PA and back, even though I offered to use my car by saying, “we’ll save miles on your car.” It was a nice thought, but what a POS. As mentioned by Lokki, it was loud, for me it was cramped while driving (my right leg was plastered against the console), although not too bad in the passenger seat. With two people and our bags in there, I think it would do 0-60 in about a week. Thank goodness 90% of the terrain was flat on our trip.
“The Aveo eventually became the Spark”
I’m sorry, what? The Spark is a direct descendant of the Matiz, itself based on the Italdesign Lucciola concept originally meant to become the Fiat Cinquecento. It is an A-segment city car and pre-dates the Aveo by a good bit.
The Aveo is a rebrand of the Daewoo Kalos, a B-segment car that in its second generation (T300) was marketed in North America as the Chevy Sonic. In Central America, the first generation Aveo was sold for a good bit longer, with some visual updates along the way, and was eventually replaced by a completely different Aveo – a rebadged Chevy Sail, rebadged mainly because it traces its lineage back to notoriously unsafe past SAIC-GM (GM China, basically) cars of the same name.
It is this Aveo that is now succeeded by the Wuling, and it doesn’t have a whole lot to do with GM Korea, or the Spark.
Lastly, I have driven the T200 Aveo sedan (EUDM) and the T200 Aveo5 hatch (USDM, the “special value” version that didn’t even have AC), and they are – wait for it – not that bad. Soft clutch, long throws, 13″ wheels, plastic fantastic interior – a supercar this is not, but it soaks up miles just fine and is nowhere near as miserable of a driving experience as, say, the Renault Thalia it competed against in Europe. It’s an honest car that gets the cheap transportation job done right, though I’ll take my Spark over it any day of the week.
Mechanically, the Matiz was descended from the Tico, which was based on the Suzuki Fronte/Alto. The Lucciola styling was adapted to fit a vaguely Tico-derived (but larger and much stiffer) platform.
The T200 Kalos/Aveo sort-of replaced the T100 Lanos, but actually started life as the S100 B-segment car intended to be built in the ZAZ plant in Ukraine, using a brand-new platform and exported to other European markets. A change in strategy moved the old Lanos to ZAZ for less-developed former-USSR markets, and the new car to Korea to replace Lanos in more developed markets. Although the engine offerings in T200 were the Daewoo 1.2 and GM-derived 1.4 and 1.6 FamI engines, two other engines were packaged in early engineering – the 1.1 engine from the ZAZ Tavrija (with a cheaper front subframe) and Renault’s K9k 1.5-litre turbodiesel.
Hell yeah! Someone else who knows a thing or two about Korean subcompacts!
Honestly I personally think the T200 felt like a worn out car from the ’80s sold as new, and the one I test drove squeaked when it turned left, but as cars go it definitely was one.
They were as they were sold outside of the US for years before coming to the US. I liked the Guigiaro styling. Was about a inch larger overall than my MkI (Westmoreland, PA) Rabbit. Heavier, though.
That doesn’t look bad at all. Speaking of these Korean econo-cruisers, I just had new tires put on my own 2014 Spark earlier today. The car was supposed to be the wife’s “learn to drive stick” car, but after she did, she decided to go back to her ’95 Escort and I started using it as a winter beater. It’s been a good value – purchased in 2018 with 48,000 miles for $3500, it’s now at 73,000 miles and so far I’ve put a set of brake pads, spark plugs, a transmission seal, and now tires on it. The thing I like best is the heater – it only takes about a mile to kick out great heat. Another nice thing is that it costs around $20.00 to fill up. Cheap transportation at its best.
The Aveo was (is?) still produced in Ukraine too, at least before the war as the ZAZ Vida alongside other older Korean GM products.
And probably in one or more of the Istans too.
It’s one of those world-platforms that managed to fly under the radar pretty much unnoticed, yet they are available almost anywhere.
The Aveo became the *Sonic
Also, they should sell this Aveo up here. They also get a Cavalier in Mexico, too
I guess at least I got a good story out of that miserable ride in an Aveo. And at least I never owned one (or two).
A customer of mine purchased an 07 Aveo when they were in a hard spot for transportation. Unfortunately, the little car had been run into the ground, and the seller said all kinds of work had been done…. nope. Poor car had gravy for coolant. The cooling fan was not wired in. Thankfully, It was not a head gasket. The radiator had failed internally, allowing the transmission to pump fluid into the radiator. Replaced the radiator, wired the fan, somehow the car held on. One day, the sludge make the car start knocking like slamming a marble on a glass coffee table. Removed the valve cover, and found both stalactites and stalagmites of gritty black sludge coating everything, with the aluminum stained dark brown. By now, they needs this machine more than ever, and, they now love “Miss Aveo”. Dug out what I could from the top, changed the oil, substituting marvel mystery oil for 1 whole quart. The noise got a little less alarming, but remained. “We have performed the ritual: drive the car, let it cook.” Most of the noise went away. Dropped that oil out after a few hundred miles. looked like black paint, with a toxic iridescent sheen, and a sickly minty smell. Rinse, run, repeat. By now, it runs smooth mostly, with occasional ticks. Customer learns the art of oil change! On the third change, returned to regular motor oil. Then, the upper radiator hose got supper swollen. The transmission fluid contamination had worked its magic on the rubber, and degraded all of them on the car. Chased hoses as needed for a while. By pass hose was next. Got that handled. Customer fixed their own tail lights. We started getting cam position codes. The little car still doing its job. Then, a coolant trickle has turned into a sure nuff leak again. The client knows full well how to watch coolant levels and add thankfully. It seems is probably the water pump. So in the next soon as we can, its Timing belt, water pump, cam sensor o’clock, most likely with oil pan drop, screen clean, and reseal. What comes next? Nobody knows! Meanwhile, its a nice looking comfortable city sedan. Had it seen the love it gets now in the past, I’m sure it would be in mechanically clean condition. As it stands, its one piece at a time until we get it that way. It has continued to get them around when within all reason, it should have lay down. If you can find a nice clean one with a good car fax and energy, repairs are a real easy treat up under there. Would recommend. Hopefully the next round of reconstruction will keep Miss Aveo out of my bay for a long spell this time.
I like crappy hatchbacks. I actually like the Sonic I drive with dents on every body panel. I’d happily drive this, and it is in a color!
I put a set of brakes on an Aveo once. One spin around a parking lot told me that it was the worst modern car I’ve ever driven. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered steering that felt connected to the front wheels by a rubber band. But, I can’t talk too much shit about something that’s only meant to be cheap, honest transportation. Because I like cheap, honest transportation. I haven’t driven a Spark but I have driven the Sonic and it was a nice little car! Had one as a rental for a month and I was pleasantly surprised.
I drove a 2012 Sonic LT Turbo for about eight years and really liked it! It had all the creature comforts of the time (Bluetooth, USB port for an iPod or MP3 player, power everything, cruise, etc.), was slow car fast, stopped on a dime, easily swallowed all my drum gear and sound equipment when the rear seats were down, and – aside from the thermostat having to be replaced fairly frequently because the housing was made of plastic and would break like my ankles on a basketball court – gave me no issues for 175,000 miles!
Matt, you should do a piece on the Chevrolet S-10 Max from Mexico.
It’s made by SIAC.. but what I find cool is that they offer a cab chassis option. Buy it and bolt whatever you want on the back.
Eh, there are enough perfectly adequate cars that anything Chinese is sort of a write-off, and I don’t need a cheap small car with grumpy truck face (it’s not quite angry truck face but not far).
Not that the Aveo was a good car, mind you – the most positive thing I can say is that it was probably the best rebadged Daewoo sent over (at least against the Optra and Epica), by virtue of having least to go wrong. I had a rental Spark in Iceland a few years ago – that was a little underpowered and cheap, but at least a cheerful enough little car (helped by having a manual, like all small cars should).
The Optra felt a lot better to drive, at least, though none of them were anything impressive. All of them seem to have disappeared from Canadian roads, and the Epica appears to rust away at a rapid rate.
Aveo? Anything like Ave in Latin. It means be well. I Can’t think of a more appropriate time to wish someone to be well than at the beginning of a road trip in an Aveo.