2008 Chevrolet Aveo Sedan, Part 2

Exterior Design: **
Call it the anti-Scion, with the Aveo trading avant-garde fashion for mature, predictable styling cues. Of course, that also means it trades the "I'm on my way to a rave" hipster-mobile image for the "I'm on my way to a mediocre job" commuter-mobile image. It's wholly unoffensive, and equally uninspiring.

Interior Design: ****
The material quality and finish in the Aveo are excellent for a car in this class. In terms of style our tester might have been a tad over the top. There are at least six types of plastic: black, tan, fake wood, brushed aluminum and chrome. We haven't seen one in person, but opting for the charcoal interior that does away with the wood for more faux-metal will likely lower your perceived age by some 20 years.

Acceleration: **
Racing with rollerbladers can be a gamble and merging onto the highway in heavy traffic requires smashing the pedal to the floor. Still, the Aveo isn't a total sloth. You can call it peppy, but you'll miss any sensation of being pushed back into your seat.

Braking: **
Front discs and rear drums get the job done just fine. The Aveo loses points for making antilock brakes optional, even in top-level LT trim.

Ride: ****
The Aveo smooths out bumps and jitters like a car that was designed with grandma's bladder as the sole consideration. It's absolutely shocking how solidly planted this car is when you're moving through traffic above highway speeds. But we also have a sneaking suspicion that this may be a blessing that comes at the expense of the...

Handling: *
Under 50 mph, steering is dull, with little feedback or on-center feel. Combined with serious amounts of body roll, going through curves quickly and smoothly is nearly impossible. At highway speeds, unpredictable steering can be terrorizing. Sometimes small movements render as sudden jerks; other times, they won't even keep you from drifting out of lane. While the excellent ride squelches road noise and bumps at 80 mph, the steering gear makes going over 55 a white-knuckle experience.

Gearbox: ***
Our Aveo was equipped with the four-speed automatic transmission. The autobox shifted smoothly and generally knew when the right foot wanted needed a downshift.

Audio: **
All sedan models come standard with an auxiliary audio input and six-speakers that pump out acceptable sound quality. Strangely, the LS sedan comes standard with only the AM/FM stereo and aux input, but no CD player. We knew CDs were on their way out, but is it already time to totally ditch the disc? Maybe Chevy's just that much of a trend-setter.

Toys: zero stars
There's nothing here that really qualifies as a toy...unless you want to count the Aveo in its entirety as a toy.

Trunk: **
Just as you'd expect, a small car has a small trunk. It does the 60/40 thing for larger loads, but fitting any overly broad items — like luggage or a cooler — through that trunk opening.

Value: ****
The Aveo sedan's ugly-duckling five-door sibling may claim title as the lowest-priced car in America at $10,595. But it's ugly, so spend the extra $2,000 to get a sedan and you'll still get a hell of a bargain. Start with the top-level LT model and you'll get all of the good stuff like power windows, keyless entry and power heated mirrors, for just $14,365. That's a bare-bones econobox price for a car with far more features.

Overall: **
The Aveo is much more mature than you'd expect from its size or its price. A smooth ride and fuel-friendly engine will serve the tight-walleted commuter well. But you don't measure a subcompact in how fast it is so much as consider how slow it is. So regardless of the Aveo's ability to transport students or 9-to-5'ers and their Starbucks drinks to work in comfort, it's not for even the remotely performance-minded buyer. Power is meager and with such a lack of feedback, it's like driving the car with a Nintendo controller. Want a warranty and clean history? Get an Aveo. Want something exciting? Check the classifieds.

2008 Chevrolet Aveo Sedan, Part 1