Late last year we published a review of a Chevrolet Aveo which was in most respects very similar to this one. The regular 1.3 VDCi LT differs from the Ecodiesel in that its 1.3-litre diesel engine produces a maximum of 74bhp, rather than 94bhp, and despite the lower output it has slightly inferior official fuel economy and CO2 figures of 74.3mpg and 99g/km.
It's also £450 cheaper. If you pay the extra money, you get considerably better performance, though I must say that the less expensive car seems lively enough for a diesel supermini. You also don't lose out in terms of Vehicle Excise Duty and the London congestion charge, since this car is as exempt from both of those as the Ecodiesel is.
(Different story if you move up one trim level to the LTZ. That has the 94bhp engine but doesn't have the Ecodiesel's fuel-saving features, and it's rated at 108g/km. For those of you who have to think about the congestion charge, it's not the best choice.)
Excuse me if what follows sounds familiar, but I didn't come close to the 74.3mpg EU test figure, and I dare to suggest that it would require considerable cunning to do so. But in regular driving I did average over 55mpg, which is about what I would have expected of a car like this.
The Aveo is an averagely practical supermini, with a luggage compartment roughly equal in size of those to the market-leading Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa. (If you want strict accuracy, at 290 litres it's five larger than the Corsa's and five smaller than the Fiesta's.) It's also good-looking, or at least I think it is, and it rides well, though not as well as the startlingly economical Citroen C3 e-HDi reviewed last month.
There's a fair bit of road noise, though, and the interior can't match that of the Fiesta for quality. But this is a case of getting what you pay for. At current prices this Aveo costs £12,345, and although Ford has a cheaper diesel Fiesta it has only three doors and is above the 100g/km VED and congestion charge threshold. If you want a Fiesta with the five doors and double-digit CO2 rating of the Aveo it's going to cost you more than £15,000. Discounts will be available, of course, but you could say that about the Aveo too.
To close on another familiar note (though one that people tell me they want me to keep mentioning), manouevring the Aveo in car parks is outstandingly more difficult than it should be because the rear windows have been designed to be fashionable rather than do anything useful like let you see out. If there were a supermini on the market that did a better job I would instantly recommend it, but unfortunately all manufacturers of this type of car have made a similarly ham-fisted job of the whole business. I wonder when one of them will finally decide to do it properly.
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