Hi Flyertalk! I've been a long-time lurker here and am now looking to get more involved. Needing a rental car a couple weeks ago, I turned to Hertz (through USAA) since I'm 19. I ended up booking a ECAR and got upgraded to this beauty. I ended up returning the car after eight or so hours as it was more convenient for me than holding it overnight. Before going on to the issue at hand, I will say that I was impressed that I got a rental car from Hertz with no "fighting" as to my age. I had an email from corporate to show them just in case, but it went over pretty well. I also apologize for the poor quality pictures: I remembered to take them literally an hour before returning the car.
Car Description: 2011 Chevy Aveo LT
Class: CCAR (Although my said A if I remember correctly.)
The 2011 Chevy Aveo was probably a step up from the LS model as it did have power everything, but not by much. Because it had power everything, I believe it is the 2LT trim with a MSRP of $15,365.
The car had 34908 miles on the odometer when I rented it! Add in the about 140 I drove it and it had ~35,050 miles upon return. This is high for most rental cars, but an Aveo needs to be retired far before this. (more on this later)
Powertrain: The Aveo only comes with a 1.6L I4 engine producing 105 lb-ft of torque. At speeds under 45 mph, the car isn't too bad with acceleration if you are willing to press the pedal perhaps a little more than usual. However at speeds beyond this, acceleration is anemic. It gets up to 60 mph, but don't expect to accelerate beyond that with any sort of hurry. Also at speeds above 60 mph, engine noise is very noticeable.
The transmission is nothing to write home about: just a 4-speed automatic. But it does its job just fine.
The Aveo has an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 25 mpg city, 34 mpg highway. I probably drove a 60%-40% mix of highways and city, respectively. My receipts show that I got ~38.8 mpg, so that was pretty good. One complaint here is that for some reason the Aveo wouldn't fill up properly. On two different pumps at two different stations, it kept tripping as though it was full. I just had to guesstimate how many gallons I consumed and fill it to that. I found it kind of annoying.
Ride/Handling:At speeds below 65 mph, I found that the Aveo handled fairly. Beyond this though was honestly scary. The car didn't feel safe at all perhaps due to its weight. Further, at speeds above 60 mph, wind noise was prominent. I have to commend the brakes on this car, however. They did an amazing job and I have never driven a car with brakes that stopped the car that quickly.
Interior: Here's where the Aveo gains its reputation. The interior was upholstered in suede-colored cloth. I'd say the car can hold two people, uncomfortably. Even given that I'm not a very tall person, there was no way I'd want to squeeze into the back seat for anything more than literally 5 minutes. A short driver won't help here...there just isn't enough room.
The seats are, obviously, manually adjusted. That said, they are just not comfy. It was my first rental and I was in somewhat of a hurry, so I didn't bother arguing/upgrading. But in no uncertain terms will I ever accept one of these cars again especially if I need to travel 100+ miles. For me, the thigh support was especially poor especially after driving 30 or so miles.
The center console seemed to be laid out okay. Again, the knobs weren't of high quality or something, but they worked properly. One annoying thing about the car was a) a relative lack of storage space and b) a lack of easily accessible cup holders (from the from seat). I had to keep many of my things on the passenger seat and they slid around during my drive. One thing I never understood was why I couldn't turn the radio off, only "audio mute" it. Unfortunately, I did not remember to test how the audio sounded. Kind of random, but the clock was placed very practically...I barely had to take my eyes off the road to look at it. That said, it wasn't aesthetically placed/designed.
As mentioned above, noise was a major issue especially at speeds over 60 mph. The other issue was honestly Hertz's. They had a mat in the driver's footwell that at least partially obstructed my access to the brakes. To say the least, this was very dangerous. So much so that I pulled over just before driving onto the street from the pickup lot and put the mat back in the rear passenger's area. Here's a picture:
The part that obstructed the brake is towards the top and looks like just a bend. Problem is you can't straighten it out.
Exterior/Design: Obviously, the car is very small. This has its positives: parking in a city, squeezing into small places. As far as the exterior goes, I dislike it somewhat. The rear lights have too much white in my opinion, and the front looks bland.
One thing I must commend Chevy for is the trunk. From the outside, you'd think it is almost non-existent. However it seems to be pretty big, though I didn't use it at all:
Value: I rented this with the USAA CDP only and it came out to ~$50 for one day. I really wish I had either asked for or paid for an upgrade to a ICAR or FCAR. For longer trips (>25 miles one-way), do yourselves a favor and upgrade if you must. The $5-$10/day is entirely worth it!
If someone is considering buying this car, please do yourselves a favor and spend a little more on a respectable car (aka not Aveo) with all due respect to Chevy. Even if you have to buy a slightly more used car to save money, do it!
- Brakes worked well
- Pretty good fuel economy even with a little speed on the highway
- Small size allows it to fit into tight spaces
- Uncomfortable seats, especially if travelling >30 miles
- Poor acceleration above 45 mph and especially above 60 mph
- Rear seats unusable by adults for any decent period of time
- Wind and engine noise above 60 mph; car doesn't feel "safe" at 70+ mph.
- Not a problem with the car, but 35,000 miles on an Aveo and still being rented to Gold customers?! Come on Hertz...
Final Verdict: Don't rent this car. And if you are ever offered one, complain. At least I will next time. It's simply unacceptable to rent an Aveo out at 35k+ miles. Perhaps some cars can handle being rentals at that age, but not an Aveo. Indeed, when I rented it, the car had a sign on for some kind of overdue maintenance (perhaps an oil change?). The car was a pain to drive especially at higher speeds (70+ mph) and
Afterthoughts: If it wasn't obvious, I borrowed jzweighaft's template for car rental reviews. So all credit goes to him for coming up with this kind of template. This is my first review, so any comments would be great! I'll probably get a chance to rent once or twice more before the end of January, so I will try to incorporate any suggestions into my reports on those rentals. (And I promise I'll try to get better pictures next time!)