Chevrolet Orlando 1.8 LT Review

Orlando Front

Chevrolet is on a serious mission to make vehicles for all occasions and markets. In South Africa, they’re taking over from the segments where Opel was once active. The brand is trying damn hard to promote itself as an uncomplicated and unpretentious car company that is determined to make vehicles for the people and the Chevrolet Orlando is one of them...

Chevrolet Orlando styling

Enter the Chevrolet Orlando. It doesn’t try to be something other than an insanely practical and comfortable seven-seat vehicle. Don’t even think of calling it a bus. The closest thing that General Motors has as a bus is an Opel Vivaro and that’s a completely different vehicle entirely. It’s a Chevrolet through-and-through which naturally means it gets splashed with the bling treatment, which I like. There’s an aggressive and dominating front end with the Chevrolet badge sitting proudly in between the two plastic chrome-edged honeycomb grilles. There are aftermarket-styled 18-inch alloy wheels which are, in a word, awesome, and the rear features a mini diffuser integrated into the bumper. For what most people would consider a mommy-mover, this looks great and has serious presence.

Engine Capability

Engine-wise and things start to disappoint. The standard GM issue 1.8-litre engine in itself isn’t a bad engine and I’ve experienced it in smaller vehicles like the Cruze sedan. However, in a vehicle of this size and considering its purpose, this engine doesn’t feel up to the task. Yes, on paper, it looks impressive with figures of 104kW and 176Nm but I can’t imagine an Orlando going anywhere in a hurry with seven people. At sea level and with two people, the Chevrolet Orlando was acceptable. Overseas, the Orlando comes with a 2-litre diesel engine which would be perfect. Sadly, as one Chevrolet representative pointed out via Twitter, “…diesel only comprises 10 percent of this segment of the market…”

Interior Styling

The interior and overall driving experience is where the Chevrolet Orlando redeems itself. There is, literally, a space for everything and anything in the cabin. If you run out of space for your keys/mobile phone/iPod, then you can actually lift up the radio face and slot stuff in that compartment. I kid you not, there is storage behind the radio. Speaking of iPod, there is connectivity for one in the secret compartment. There is also an aux input as well. The climate control is brutally effective and dealt with the recent Cape heatwave with ease, while the sound system is particularly potent.

The third row of seats magically folds flat creating an enormous boot when they’re not needed. When you do need the extra seats, simply pull the lever and up they come. It’s an uncomplicated process and almost anyone can do it. Many vehicles claim to feature seating for seven but very few can pull it off. The Orlando can, and there’s even a small amount of space in the boot leftover.

Chevrolet Orlando - Conclusion

Despite being underpowered, the Orlando is quite impressive and well priced at R295 000  if you need a vehicle that can comfortably seat seven people or need to cart around cargo. If only there was a diesel…

Chevrolet Orlando price in South Africa

The Chevrolet Orlando 1.8 LT costs R295 000.

We like: ·         Practicality ·         Good looks

We don’t like: ·         Underpowered

Chevrolet Orlando specifications

Engine:                1.8-litre, four-cylinder, petrol Power:                 104 kW @ 6 200 rpm Torque:                176 N.m @ 3 800 rpm Transmission:      five-speed manual Wheels:                18-inch 0-100 km/h:        12 seconds (claimed) Fuel economy:   7.2l/100km (claimed combined cycle)

Also consider: Mazda 5 Toyota Verso