New Chevrolet Orlando review

The seven-seat Orlando is Chevrolet’s first European MPV and in typical American fashion it is a beast of a model that displays all the livery and glitz you’d expect of a Chevy, but not so much of an MPV.

It’s common to talk of the new wave of MPVs as a break from the norm – they’ve shed the old image of pure practicality and replaced it instead with cars that offer style and substance – however it’s far harder to place the Chevrolet Orlando.

It’s not as sleek as a lot of its competitors – like the Vauxhall Zafira or the Ford Grand C-Max – in the sense that it is big, square and chunky; seemingly more focussed on practicality and space, however it is too unique and well equipped to be a fully fledged return to the MPVs of old.

At full tilt the Orlando is a seven-seater and space is generous throughout, including the third row. The rear-most seats are traditionally the ‘children’s’ but the Chevrolet actually offers two spots with good headroom, decent legroom and more than enough space for an adult.

The Orlando can easily be transformed into a five-seater thanks to its flexible seating that is lifted directly from the current Vauxhall Zafira. The Flex-7 system allows the third row of seats to be lowered flat in to the floor and free up a large amount of boot space in the region of 1487 litres.

Despite advancements in the MPV segment – in terms of drive and handling – its focus remains first and foremost with practicality and there are a number of nice touches throughout the Orlando that stress that point.

In the boot there is a useful under-floor storage cupboard while the headrests of the rear seats lower automatically when they are being collapsed.

The same applies at the front where a USB and MP3 hook-up is stored behind the multimedia cluster at the centre of the dashboard whose orientation is easy to access. The amount of buttons and gadgetry found on the dashboard however varies greatly between each of the three trim levels.

They start with the entry-level LS is generous enough and this is echoed with the mid-range LT option. This is expected to be the bestseller thanks to its fairly extensive list of equipment and its price.

The range-topping option is the LTZ trim which features an impressive range of equipment and some brash interior touches – not for the faint hearted.

Two engines will be available on the Orlando with the range opening with the MPV’s only petrol option – a 1.8-litre 141PS and mated to a five-speed manual transmission.

Three diesel variants complete the range in the form of a 130PS 2.0-litre diesel available with a six-speed manual transmission on both the LS and LT trims and the more powerful 163PS 2.0-litre diesel engine which is available in manual or automatic guises in LT and LTZ trim levels.

It is the diesel versions that grab the headlines thanks to their increased torque and it is the mid-level 130PS diesel that is expected to be Chevrolet’s best seller. The unit proved more than capable at motorway speeds and benefitted from longer gearing.

Outside, the Orlando is a unique addition to the MPV segment and its appearance is unmistakably Chevrolet.

It sports chunky features and dimensions as well as metal inserts at the rear that smacks more of an SUV than an MPV. That off-road element is also detectable at the front of the model thanks to a tall front-end, open-mouthed grille and exaggerated Chevrolet bow-tie.

Chevrolet’s first foray into the MPV segment in the UK looks set to be a fairly successful one. As well as doing the necessary, practical things, the Orlando also looks unique and will stand out from the default MPVs on the market.

It does all this for a start price of £16,395 as well.

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