Chevrolet Orlando LS 1.8 review

chev_orlando-thumbChevrolet Orlando

GM’s smaller multi purpose vehicle, the Orlando manages to be a little van, 7 seater bus and car all in one. And all in a neat, versatile  package. It would make a great taxi.

Think of it as an upmarket Avanza. It is slightly wider and longer than the Avanza and feels much more solid.

In SA we only get only one model. But GM has chosen it well. It is a 1.8 petrol manual with standard but good hard working trim and a good specification level.

Interior Chevrolet Orlando

Interior Chevrolet Orlando

The vehicle has 16 different seating combinations, meaning  you really can fit seven adults into the Orlando or when in van mode, a driver and a jumbo load.

Passengers will find the inside of the Orlando is surprisingly roomy with more than enough leg- and headroom. Access to the third row is OK, but headroom a little limited.

Load volume at the back is between 100 and 800 litres depending on how you have folded the seats. Fold down the rear seats and you’ve got a 1499 litre load space.The  cabin feels like a car, with neat finishes and a plethora of map pockets, armrests with cup holder, and quite a few nooks and crannies to keep things in.

Power windows for driver and front passenger are standard as is a good sound system, cruise control and power steering.

The interior is upmarket compared to the cheaper Avanza and is pleasantly finished reminding one of the Cruze, its sedan sibling.

Chevrolet Otlando

Chevrolet Otlando

The Orlando does not lack safety and security systems.  It comes with anti theft alarm and immobiliser.

An  ‘Electronic Stability Control’ system provides traction control to help avert slides, by automatically applying corrective braking to appropriate wheels to help you quickly regain control. It also has ABS and electronic brake distribution with an additional brake assist system.

Driving the Orlando is easy and pleasant. All round visibility is surprisingly good and it handles well in the context of an MPV. Road holding is above par for this category. The Cruze roots shine through.

Chevrolet Orlando 1.8 LS

Chevrolet Orlando 1.8 LS

GM claims 7.2l/100km but work on 8 in general and around 6 on the open road, which is very acceptable.

Priced from R287 000 you get real value for money.

The Warranty & Roadside Assistance package is  5 years/120 000km.  The Service Plan is for 3 years /60 000km.

Also look at the Toyota Avanza 1.3  from R190 000, Suzuki Ertiga 1.4 starting at around R160 000, VW Caddy 1.6 from R190 000 or the Nissan NV200 1.6 Combi R254 800.

First published in Small Business Connect.

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.


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.