Chevrolet’s history may date back to 1910, but the company only arrived in the UK in 1995. But even back then it wasn’t known for car sales and only made a mark in the vehicle industry when GM took over in 2001. The Orlando is available in three trim levels: the LTZ, LT, and LS. Its engine range includes a 2.0-litre diesel and a 1.8-litre petrol unit, with the former originally taking off as a variant of VM Motori’s 2.2-litre diesel of Hyundai. GM took the idea as soon as Hyundai let go and placed it in the Orlando in either 161bhp or 128bhp.
Chevrolet may have made itself a part of the European market, but much of its engineering is still heavily inspired and derived from an American point of view. Expect the Orlando to treat you to bolder big wheel arches, a square-cut rear, a prominent snout, and a two-box design. The Orlando also stays true to Chevrolet’s promise of a ‘body in, wheels out’ approach, primarily delivered in the prominent arches and wheels that fill into them. The styling makes the Orlando appear bigger than its actual size, which is about 4.65 in length. This makes the vehicle just 10cm longer than the Renault Grand Scenic.
The Orlando doesn’t come with a five-seater variation, so this Chevrolet model goes right up against the seven-seater rivals. The rearmost seats are well-suited to shorter adults and children, while the second row has enough leg and headroom. But unlike the Grand C-Max, the Orlando’s middle-row seats can’t be folded away to turn the seven-seater into a more spacious four-seater. Nonetheless the middle row can be rolled forwards in just one click or quickly tipped for easier movement in the vehicle. Plus the interior includes a dashboard composed of MP3 sockets and stereo/nav controls that can be hidden in a fabric-lined cubby. This feature keeps your gadgets safe while you’re away from the Orlando.
The Orlando’s 1.6-litre diesel engine impresses with its 8.3 seconds mark for its 50 to 70mph sprint. No need to go into lower gear thanks to the unit’s 266lb ft of torque; such a performance makes the Orlando even more impressive than the Grand C-Max’s 2.0 TDCi. Plus the company’s claimed fuel economy at 47.1mpg is matched to the exact amount, even when you’re running 70mph along a motorway cruise. The engine also has excellent mechanical refinement, and delivers a quieter and smoother ride than the GM 2.0 CDTi 158bhp engine.
Opting for the entry-level 1.8-litre petrol requires you to compromise price for a noisy and weak performance. It’s best you opt for the higher units within the range. In terms of ride and handling, the Orlando tends to feel stiff legged at first and delivers a thump on a few thumps. Thankfully the model performs quietly on smoother surfaces and finds the right balance between comfort and body control. But don’t expect this vehicle to absorb urban road troubles like other more powerful seven seaters. But if you plan to bring this car around the neighborhood and the city, this setback shouldn’t be an issue.
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