Chevrolet Orlando LTZ 2.0 VCDi

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Top speed: 121 mph

Acceleration: 0-62 mph in 10.0 seconds

Fuel consumption: 47.1 mpg

CO2 emissions: 159 g/km

Price: £20,195

Rivals: Ford Grand C-Max, Mazda 5, Vauxhall Zafira

On the face of it, you can't get a more American name for a car than Chevrolet Orlando. Chevrolet is General Motors' main US brand and Orlando is the name of one of Florida's biggest cities. But it's not quite as simple as that. Louis Chevrolet, the founder of the company wasn't born in America, but Switzerland, and Chevrolet's latest model, the Orlando, isn't really a product of Detroit, but of Korea. The Korean connection arises because General Motors bought the former Daewoo car operations in that country and rebranded its products, for Europe, at least, as Chevrolets.

At first, the idea of the muscley Chevrolet Corvette sharing the same badge as the tiny runabout formerly known as the Daewoo Matiz took some getting used to, but it's slowly becoming clear what the new, internationally diverse Chevrolet is all about. First we had the Cruze, a saloon that originated in Korea but shares a platform with the European Opel/Vauxhall Astra, and is being built around the world, including in Chevrolet's homeland, the USA; now, we have the Orlando, an impressively complete small-to-medium sized MPV based on an extended version of the Cruze's platform. With Cruze and Orlando, the Korean branch of Chevrolet has achieved in two steps what Kia achieved in one jump with the cee'd; it has moved from also-ran products designed to appeal mainly to a domestic Korean audience to cars that are able to compete convincingly with mainstream European models.

Drive the Cruze and it feels like there's a pretty good car in there somewhere trying to get out; it has a slightly dull saloon body, with a somewhat drab interior, but it impresses with good refinement and noise suppression, and also with sound handling that feels a bit like it's deliberately had a little of the underlying sharpness dialled out of it. A hatchback body and a few other updates, due in a few months, will unlock more of the Cruze's fundamental appeal as far as European customers are concerned, but no such tweaks are needed to make the Orlando more attractive, because Chevrolet's latest car has pretty much hit the target straight away.

The Orlando has the same air of competence, comfort and refinement as the Cruze but feels much more European when it comes to all the important stuff you can see and feel. That means a handsome body and a pleasant cabin with the darker shades and softer sorts of plastics that Europeans prefer. The Orlando is also one of the roomiest and most practical cars of its size or price as well; three rows of seats mean you can carry seven (including the driver) and an enormous 1487 litres of load space is available when the second and third rows are folded down.

The Orlando is available with three engines; a 1.8-litre petrol producing 141 horsepower and two diesels delivering 130 and 163 horsepower. The more powerful diesel engine is pretty refined and strong, and a better choice than the petrol, which sometimes feels like it could do with a bit more mid-range torque, a feeling that is likely to grow if you use the generous space available to load the Orlando up with people and their stuff.

The most recent European entries in this part of the market, Ford's five-seat C-Max and seven-seat Grand C-Max, still have a bit more dash than the Orlando – the Ford pair have sharper handling for one thing, and the Grand C-Max's handy sliding rear side-doors also appeal - but the Orlando is a good, strong, solid effort. The most expensive diesel-engined versions just breach the £20,000 barrier, but prices start at £16,395; at those levels, Chevrolet's newcomer represents conspicuously good value for money.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

    £40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

    Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

    £26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

    £17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific