NEW FOR 2008:

– Standard electronic immobilizer
– Acoustic package for reduced noise
– RS Special Edition Package includes auxiliary audio cable for iPod connection

For 2008, the Chevrolet Aveo is virtually unchanged but for a few new standard features.

Available as a sedan, or as the Aveo5 hatchback model (so named because the company calls the liftgate a fifth door), the Aveo is a sister car to the Suzuki Swift+ and the Pontiac Wave. Due to the sedan’s re-design in 2007, styling is different on the sedan and hatchback models.

Both sedan and Aveo5 use a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, mated to a five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic. The automatic has a "Hold" function that allows the driver to keep it in gear when starting on slippery surfaces. Both models are available in LS or LT trim.

Features on the LS include 14-inch steel wheels, manual remote mirrors, fixed intermittent wipers, digital clock, front floor console, tilt wheel, smoker’s package, manual driver’s height adjustment, 60/40 split folding rear seat, and CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary jack. The Aveo5 also includes fog lamps and rear washer/wiper.

The LT adds air conditioning, heated power mirrors, metallic or woodgrain interior accents, cruise control, power windows, and power locks with keyless entry.

Available options include a rear spoiler, power sunroof, 15-inch aluminum wheels, anti-lock brakes and six-CD stereo. An RS Special Edition Package is available on both trim lines and adds 15-inch wheels, rear spoiler, six-speaker premium sound system, wheel-mounted audio controls, chrome door handles and an Apple iPod.

Roomy inside and peppy despite its small engine, the Aveo offers better handling than would be expected for the price, and a surprisingly quiet cabin. Shop it against its siblings from Pontiac and Suzuki, as well as other subcompacts such as the Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Honda Fit and Nissan Versa.

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