Chevrolet Orlando 1.8 LT review

Chevrolet Orlando

GM launched the Orlando very quietly onto our market. I do not know why, because I believe it could be a big seller here. I was hugely surprised and impressed with the Orlando. It has its little negatives, but for the family man or the small business owner it answers a lot of questions. One of the big pluses is the feeling of quality and solidity. The other is the space.

Loosely based on the Cruze, it is smallish on the outside and biggish on the outside. It has the space of a smallish van but the feel and handling of a car.

My week with the Orlando included 5 return trips of about 50km on the N2 to Cape Town and mixed city driving as well as parking 5 floors up in a parking garage. I managed 8.7 litre/100km. At 120km/h it uses around 9.2 litre/100km.

Good points

The Orlando has got loads of space and a very pleasant and versatile cabin. All round visibility is surprisingly good, even for shorter drivers. The driving position is more SUV than car like and works very well. Because you sit a bit higher you can see much better making it a superb choice of car if you plan to go game viewing or touring.

The switchgear seems to be of high quality and is placed just right, almost identically to the Cruze. I would not be surprised if the dash has been lifted out of the Cruze.

The Orlando drives as easily as the Cruze. It’s a great family car.

Bad points

Perhaps because it was first designed as a left hand drive car the gear lever obscures the air conditioner controls when it is in 5th gear. Speaking of which, why no 6th gear? No automatic box?

Many prospective buyers would I think have considered a diesel, but GM has decided not to make it available in SA. The 1.8 litre petrol engine is not excessively thirsty but is not as economical as a turbodiesel would have been. Why no turbodiesel Orlando? The turbodiesel Cruze is excellent and a pleasure to drive.

Summary

If GM made a diesel Orlando I would be first in line to get one. Make no mistake, the petrol engine is fine, but the diesel would be awesome. A bicycle fits in the back easily with a seat down. Its plus points are space, versatility and really good looks compared to its competition, VW Touran, Mazda 5 and Toyota Verso.

Priced from an excellent R254 400 for the base model, we tested the LT @ R295 000.

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