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Chevrolet Orlando: Test Drive Review

Date: 12 January 2011   |   Author:

Category: Mini-MPV
P11D price: £18,645
Key rival: Vauxhall Zafira

The Mini-MPV segment is a new one for Chevrolet as it looks to expand in Europe.

The seven-seat family market is seen as ripe for exploitation by the GM-owned brand, and this well-styled people carrier is an interesting addition to a class dominated by more sober-looking vehicles like the Orlando's sister vehicle the Vauxhall Zafira or the Renault Grand Scenic, although the Orlando at least gets some competition in the looks department from the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso and to a lesser extent the new Ford Grand C-max.

Inside, the smart cabin is well-designed and of a material quality that belies the well-priced package, while there's impressive head and legroom all round, with adults even fitting into the third row with more comfort than could be expected, and certainly more comfortably than the Orlando's chief rivals. There's a predictably tiny amount of boot space with all the seats in place. There are also some cheaper hard plastics further back, and the folding of the middle row of seats isn't as slick as some rivals. The two seats in the third row fold with a gentle tug on a lever, and are pulled back into place easily.

To drive, there's impressively little body roll, the ride is firm without being unduly harsh, even if there is an above-average amount of suspension noise, and the 130hp engine is pleasantly refined, although the gear shift is surprisingly notchy. A very good auto is also available with the higher-powered 163hp diesel, and would be the one to go for, were it not £1250 more expensive, and crucially much less efficient, 37g/km and 6.7mpg worse than the two manual diesels - 130hp and 163hp alternatives - with the same 159g/km CO2 figure, getting it in just below the capital allowance boundary.

Kit levels are good, with the LT, middle of three trims, getting rear parking sensors, a USB audio port, alloys and climate control, while all models come with ESC anti-skid control, three 12V sockets and tinted windows. The problem with the audio socket is that there's no way of running the wire out of the cubby hole it's situated in, meaning you have to slam it in the cover and hope it stays shut.

The Orlando isn't going to revolutionise the sector, but is more than worth a look.