Two years ago, Chevrolet rolled out its conceptual Orlando crossover at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. It's fitting, then, that Chevy's using this year's Paris show to take the wraps off its production-ready crossover of the same name.
Overall, the Orlando concept morphed into the production 2011 Orlando with few changes. Arguably, the largest departure from the original show car lies at the nose, where the angular, chiseled lines of the original design were replaced with a softened snout. The angular, trapezoidal headlamps are gone, replaced with large, rounded assemblies, which help flow into the front bumper's sweeping upper edge. In back, the narrow tail lamps grow to incorporate white turn signal lenses, while a lamp -- which combines both fog tail lamp and back-up light -- is placed in the middle of the rear bumper fascia.
GM has yet to release photos of the production-spec interior, but we're not expecting a big break from the concept, which sported rounded, dual-cockpit dashboard that gently flowed into the center stack, along with seating for seven spread across three rows. Interestingly, one conceptual cue -- a cubby and USB audio input hidden behind the front fascia of the audio system -- is reportedly making its way into production, and we wouldn't be surprised if the fold-flat nature of both the second- and third-row benches also becomes reality.
The 2011 Orlando rides upon a stretched version of GM's front-wheel-drive global small car architecture, which also underpins the likes of the 2011 Cruze and the 2011 Volt plug-in hybrid. Buyers will have their choice of three different engines, including a 141-horsepower, 1.8-liter gasoline I-4, or a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel I-4 offered in both 131- and 163-horsepower forms. Transmissions choices will likely include both six-speed automatic and manual options.
What's all this; diesels and a manual? Yes, and if that doesn't tell you what markets the Orlando is targeting (hint: they're primarily in Europe), we don't know what will. GM had once pledged to sell (and build) the Orlando here in the United States, but apparently reversed course and proclaimed it to be a "global" offering that won't make it to our country. Still, we've heard some executives are still pondering adding a small van to Chevrolet's U.S. portfolio.