It's been a very pleasant surprise. I got it because I had to have good gas mileage, and I wanted something that was fairly new. I ended up with an automatic 2010 hatchback Aveo5 with approximately 63,000 miles driven... which was close to perfect for my model year, fuel estimate, and miles driven expectations... and I quickly found it to be much more than I realized I had thought it could be.
Its most surprising aspect is the power. I know what the specs on the engine are, but I feel that I get more output than that whenever I'm driving it. I've never been uncomfortable or nervous driving in high speed eight lanes with trucks, semis, and other sedans. It doesn't feel like a sports car's zero-sixty in point-one seconds to me, but I keep up happily with heavy traffic with my pedal to the metal and responsive cruise. The gas mileage is predictably fantastic, but I'm pretty sure I'm getting more than the 25/34/28 estimated with the automatic. I've never tested it, but... I don't know, it just feels like I'm averaging higher fuel economy than that. I know, at least, that it takes days of concentrated driving before it needs 20-25 dollars of fuel again. I'm riding at the manual's 27/35/30, at the very least, I have to be... I can only imagine what the manual's actual mileage might be...
It's also electrically powerful. I've never seen a car warm up so quickly in such cold four-season weather, and it charges my phone on my many long trips like a champion. Its speakers are a little quiet sometimes, but definitely not sub-par. Its lights are comfortingly bright, both inside and out. Its turning is pretty impressive for highway merging and country driving. Its heating and air conditioning are effective, and quick at bringing that effect on. Its basic functions like wipers and power-assisted dynamics are quick to run at the immediate prompt. It always feels ready behind its relaxed demeanor.
I've had a lot of comments about its interior being very comfortable. I've often been asked to drive for long trips and nights out in it for the convenient design style. It's very roomy, with a friend of mine and her six-foot husband sitting very comfortably in it with all five seats occupied. The usability factor is high, having lots of little places to keep things when I've needed to bring cargo, especially with the hatchback storage. Some of it, like the pop-out cupholders, may be of an older styling persuasion, but they work so well for me, which is exactly as I want from a budget-minded, practicality-emphasized car like this one is. My trim level is a 1LT, so it comes in a cloth and plastic material combination, but its economic attributes has done nothing to make it uncomfortable for me or any of my passengers. From behind the driver's seat, it's easy to adjust it for myself. My favorite part about it is the charming accessibility of it. It's notably logical and easy to use, requiring little more than a few glances and a short trip or two for me to learn it. It's overall very comfortable, especially at night, with its ambient lighting and quietly smooth glide.
Aesthetically, its exterior design does not seem like a standout to me, but again, I've had a lot of good comments about it. It certainly doesn't feel like an unattractive car. Its front is impressive with fog lights and its headlamp shape. Its side view makes it seem a bit shorter, both length and height-wise, than it really is, which can come off as strange-looking in certain lightings and parking lots. Having a rear spoiler on mine makes a noticeable bit of difference for me; I've seen a few Aveo5s without it, and I think it looks less attractive that way. Mine is in a sharp, dark blue color with charcoal interior. It's a pleasant combination of colors, and it does the job very non-offensively. It isn't the kind of car that draws eyes from a parking lot of people around, but it's stylish up close once someone does take notice of it. Since I enjoy a certain amount of anonymity, I like that I don't get stared at by everyone around me that I don't know when I'm going everywhere. So it's a good fit for me, but it may not be the one for those who like to catch everyone's attention.
It isn't perfect, though. I love 95-98% of it, but I do have a couple of things I wish were different. My most immediate annoyance was the daytime running lights; I've always been put off by that, and on the Aveo, even the day lights are brighter than usual. Secondly, I've never liked telematics, and the Aveo came with a three-month OnStar trial; I promptly found that to be a huge irritation that was hard to use, and from second-hand experiences that I've seen through others that I know, there is some un-dismiss-able issue there that I had to remove from the car for my peace of mind's sake. I also wish that it had an all-wheel drive mode trim level; it does pretty well for a subcompact in the winter time, but it would be better with all-wheel drive. And finally, it came with a somewhat vague instruction manual; for things like when I needed to change the cabin light, I eventually had to look up how to do it online, and I've found that to be a fairly-common occurrence with run of the mill issues like that, where I should be able to get a little more info out of the book.
Overall, though, it's been such a great find for my life. It's a tough little thing, but not at the expense of noteworthy ambiance and comfort. It serves its fuel efficient, economy angled purpose very well, and provides above-acceptable means for getting around. It's very solid and warmly inviting. I've hit the road in it on many happy occasions, and it's never failed to be there for me. It has a special place in my heart, and I would recommend it for people looking for a slightly older, broken in car for this class of a vehicle. Especially as a starter car, or a car for jobs with traveling, I've never been able to call it less than a wonderful option!