27th Mar 2005, 15:48

I just got my 2005 Aveo SVM (base model) yesterday, but I thought I would add my initial thoughts.

The price was so insane I could not pass it up - I paid $6995 for a new one with 10 miles on the odometer! The dealer was more interested in selling high buck SUVs so sees the Aveo as a thorn in their side they had to get rid of. That said, they treated me with the same respect they treat their Corvette/Suburban customers.

The car is very deceiving, in a good way. It is European in ride and feel, although more Citroen (comfort) than Focus (sporty). It seems like just a basic economy car until you ask it to do something - want to go 80 mph on the highway? No problem. Want to take a corner fast (within reason)? No problem. Want to accelerate fast from a stoplight? No problem. Same thing with the shifter. I like precise shifting and the Aveo shifts sort of like a bus. Yet, again, it is deceiving. You think you are getting nowhere until you look at the speedometer and realize you're there already! So once I realized that I was okay with its "sloppiness".

The car is surprisingly loaded for what is a base model. It has a rear wiper, tilt steering, dual remote mirrors, fold down rear seats, 5 speed, sport wheel covers, metallic paint (mine is Spicy Orange, really copper), and so on - features that used to be extra cost options on Hondas and Toyotas of old.

Of course, I wish it had a few "luxuries" like remote locking, ABS, a stereo with at least a cassette player, and a trunk/hatch release - all features only available on the higher end models. But, again, for $6995 I can't complain that much.

As for quality, I owned a Ford Festiva for years, a car also built by Daewoo. What I realized is that Daewoo is not the best at "superficial" quality (such as seat material) but is great at the quality you don't see - drivetrains, motors, etc. And that is ultimately more important in a cheap car. My Festiva was nearly flawless for the seven years I had it (yes, I know the engine was built by Mazda), even though the doors were tinny and the paint was easily damaged by bird doo, tar, etc.

Overall I am hoping this car will be as reliable as my Festiva. I considered Hyundai and Kia but, especially with Kia, what is the point of a great warranty if the car is in the shop all the time? And I have yet to drive an entry-level Hyundai as fun to drive as my Aveo.