Two years ago, Chevrolet showed the Orlando concept car at the 2008 Paris Motor Show and flagged it as the basis for a production car, to be Chevrolet’s first entry into the European seven-seat MPV sector. The economic downturn slowed the original launch program; Orlando was originally due to debut in 2009. But two years after the show car, Orlando made its world debut at the recent 2010 Paris show.
Orlando is based on the General Motors European C-segment platform, which is also the basis for the Opel/Vauxhall Astra and Chevrolet Cruze sedan. As the show car demonstrated two years ago, the Orlando draws on crossover design with a low roofline. Despite that, the interior features “theater” seating for the second and third rows, which are raised to provide occupants with a better view out to the front and sides. All second- and third-row seats fold into the floor to provide a flat load area.
A feature from the concept car that will be included on production models is a disguised storage compartment in the center of the dashboard, which takes advantage of compact switchgear and wiring in the audio system. The entire panel lifts to reveal the storage compartment, which includes a USB port for MP3 players.
Orlando will use power units from the Cruze, including a 141-hp (105-kW) 1.8-L gasoline engine and two variants of the 2.0-L diesel engine producing 131 and 163 hp (98 and 122 kW). Production started in October, with European sales to begin in early 2011.
The new Aveo will follow Orlando and is due for a summer 2011 launch. The new model draws on the Aveo RS concept shown at the Detroit and Geneva shows earlier this year.
Aveo will have the option of diesel power for the first time, using the Fiat/GM 1.3-L common-rail in 75- and 95-hp (56- and 71-kW) variants, both featuring automatic engine stop/start. Gasoline variants will include 70- and 86-hp (52- and 64-kW) 1.2-L engines, a 100-hp (75-kW) 1.4-L, and a 1.6-L unit producing 115 hp (86 kW). There will be a choice of a six-speed automatic transmission with 1.4- and 1.6-L gasoline engines for the first time on a small Chevrolet. Five- or six-speed manual transmissions will be the option for most models, depending on engine.
Design features include exposed twin headlamps, a short rear overhang, and rear door handles incorporated in the C-pillars. The new model will be longer and wider than the current Aveo. A four-door sedan will be launched alongside the five-door hatchback next summer.
Inside, the Aveo will feature motorcycle-inspired instrumentation including an analogue rev counter and digital speedometer.