2009 Chevrolet Aveo5

Sam Smith

Chevy's Aveo5 hatchback was brought to our shores (yep, that's right, shores--it's essentially a rebadged Daewoo Kalos) for the first time last year, but it's already receiving a facelift and mid-cycle update. Why? The Aveo's current platform, known internally as the T250, debuted way back in January of 2006, and it's ripe for a freshening.

What Chevrolet says:

-New, fuel-efficient Ecotec 1.6-liter DOHC four with variable valve timing

-Redesigned exterior

-Manufacturer-estimated fuel economy ratings of 26 mpg/city and 34 mpg/highway (manual transmission, natch)

-Side-impact air bags and dual-stage front air bags, complete with passenger-sensing system, are now standard

-GM's OnStar assistance service is now standard, XM satellite radio is now optional

-Standard five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty

What we say: Chevy's Aveo and Aveo5 have never been that much fun to drive--even by small-car standards--but they've sold incredibly well nevertheless. Credit decent fuel economy, bargain-filled window stickers, and a host of impressive standard features. Would the Aveo sell as well in the United States if it wasn't badged as a Chevy, and bore a Daewoo front grille? Probably not. But that doesn't change the fact that it's a decent car, and economical, reliable transportation. It's also one of the cheapest new cars you can buy.

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