I had been looking at used Hondas and Nissans from the late 90's for $6,000 or $7,000, until my dad bought a new Impala and noticed an Aveo sedan in the cutest turquoise color sitting out front. He brought me to the dealership to look at it and I was surprised by the cute exterior (I had never seen the sedan, only the hatchback) and the roomy interior. After doing some research online and taking it for a test drive, I decided I was in love with it and bought it right then and there. The salesman was incredibly nice and let us take as much time as we needed to pour over the different models and options available, without trying to pressure us into anything. In fact, it's hard not to recommend the dealership here!
At a little less than $10,000 off the lot (tag price was $8,700), the Aveo is a great buy and affordable even for a teenager buying their first car.
The manual transmission is easy to handle and peppy for the most part. The clutch is a little gummy, and you really can't feel it "catch" like you can with the older cars I was used to driving. It's not a car that's going to beat anyone off the line. It really pulls in third, although the passing power in fifth leaves something to be desired. It doesn't do too well on hills, either. You have to continuously downshift to get up steep ones, and have a lot of patience if you're trying from a dead stop. Other than that, it's actually really fun to drive in the city, and you can coax a fair bit of speed out of it when you want to.
It does a little shimmy around 55 but that straightens out right away once you get up into the 60's. Like other reviewers have pointed out, the acceleration isn't very crisp, and you have to trust that you're going 75 when the speedometer says you are, because it really doesn't feel like it.
It's not particularly a fun car to drive on the highway, in my opinion. It's a totally different "feel" from the low slung, comparably heavy Subaru Outback I've been driving. It gets blown around a lot by the wind (it's a relatively high car on a narrow wheel base). The lack of passing power makes it sort of scary when you really have to get by something. Like my mom said, it's like riding in a grocery cart at high speeds (hehe).
It blocks out the exterior noise great and the radio isn't bad for a stock sound system on such a cheap car. The only problem is the lack of even a cassette player on the special value model, but that's easily remedied. The interior is impressively sized and looks "nice." I've gotten quite a few compliments on the interior- I love how everything is round, it's so unique! It's so roomy, too; everyone from the shortest (me) to the tallest fit comfortably in the front seat. Back seat leg room depends on how the front seats are adjusted. The trunk is huge! Also, the special value model comes standard with a sunglasses case on the driver's side.
The exterior is really sleek and fun. Everyone who's seen it has commented on how cute it is. I got the limited run turquoise color, so it really stands out on the road. The driver's side door makes a sort of disturbing hollow sound when you slam it, though.
All in all, I'm still very satisfied with it. It's got fairly good gas mileage, though I'm sure they could have squeezed a little more out of every gallon. It's cute and unique and a fun drive on city streets. It's a good car for teenagers, and a maneuverable, predictable, sporty little city car that won't put too much of a hole in your pocketbook.