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2009 Chevrolet Aveo5I've gotten into a lot of discussions about the plight of the domestic automakers in the face of rising gas prices. "They weren't prepared for $4-a-gallon gas!" is a common refrain. I think what a lot of people don't understand is that the product development cycle for a new car is usually 2 to 5 years -- yet gas prices doubled in a matter of months. The Big Three aren't the only ones coming out with gas-hungry vehicles; witness the 2009 Nissan Maxima and the 2009 Honda Pilot.

That said, there is a valid argument in that while times were good, the Big Three invested most of their development money in their most profitable products (SUVs and pickups). The Japanese did too - but they also devoted resources to cars like the 2009 Honda Fit, 2009 Toyota Corolla and 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer.

But General Motors wasn't quite resting on its laurels -- they had an updated version of their least-expensive car, the Chevrolet Aveo5, in the works. And now it's here. So is it any good? find out in my 2009 Chevrolet Aveo5 test drive. -- Aaron Gold

Related: Newly-expanded 2009 Chevrolet Aveo5 photo gallery

Photo © Aaron Gold

August 28, 2008 at 1:15 am
(1) Johnster says:

Your observed gas mileage for a manual transmission-equipped Chevrolet Aveo5 is terrible! Especially for such a small car. 23.5 mpg? Even driving in heavy urban traffic, that’s not very good.

August 28, 2008 at 4:51 am
(2) jimmy says:

Nice review.
I maybe a little off topic here but what’s the deal with the gas mileage? Why is it they can get a mid size to large car with a V6 engine and plenty of power to push so much weight down the highway (like the malibu) and have it get better mpg then a car considerably smaller like the Aveo? I get about 24 to 26 in town with my ’98 malibu with a V6 and I’m sure the newer ones do even better. How about how many mid-sized GM cars get worse mileage then this new tiny little Aveo? Are there any? Can’t be that many if there are. I mean, golly, tell me how GM is really even trying here!!??

August 28, 2008 at 12:09 pm
(3) Aaron Gold - Cars Guide says:

I made a typo in the specs — the car I tested actually had an automatic transmission. But I have no idea why my observed fuel economy was so low — I’m thinking it had to be a fluke, something wrong with that car. I may have to see if I can book a week with another Aveo5 just to track the fuel economy…

August 28, 2008 at 11:50 pm
(4) hawaiian don says:

Having driven the previous version of the Aveo, which was absolutely a terrible car, I find it hard to believe that unless GM totally trashes this platform and starts with a “clean piece of paper”, your review was very kind indeed. The buyer of this car has got to be a GM loyalist or a GM employee on a limited budget. I can’t see any other reason to buy this sub-grade vehicle, when you have cars like the Yaris and the Fit. The resale value of an Aveo alone should frighten away any sane buyer, not to mention reliability.

GM trash this bucket of bolts and get busy and start designing something exciting, fun to drive and fuel efficient!

August 29, 2008 at 6:29 am
(5) Chris says:

16k for an Aveo? Aren’t these Suzuki built machines? You can get a well loaded 6 speed or CVT versa for that price and have more power.

August 29, 2008 at 11:20 pm
(6) brent says:

i currently own a 2008 aveo lt2 and drive it 1,000 miles a week to work in it. it is very peppy, i cruise at 65 to 75 mph, and i get a constant 34 miles per gallon with it. it is comfortable and fun to drive. sounds like aaron gold is a bit of a foreign car driving, elitist, snob. come on aaron, its not the 1970′s and 80′s anymore! american cars are quality- built now, especially from G.M.

August 30, 2008 at 10:12 am
(7) kyle says:

It’s not Aaron’s fault foreign cars are made better. GM may have improved, but it still has a way to go.

Good luck re-saling that car ;)

August 30, 2008 at 10:58 am
(8) Aaron Gold - Cars Guide says:

Brent, technically, the Aveo5 *is* a foreign car — it was designed and built by Korean automaker Daewoo.

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