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Chevrolet Kalos (2005 - 2009)

SOMEBODY'S KALOS IS YOUR GAIN (some text hidden) --NONE--

By Andy Enright

Introductionword count: 50

The Kalos was Chevrolet's first offering in the supermini sector and although it campaigned predominantly on low prices, it was good enough to put a lick on some more mainstream names as well. Tracking down a used example shouldn't be too difficult and nor should it prove a big risk.

Modelsword count: 13

Models Covered: (1.2, 1.4, three & five-door supermini [S, SE, Ikon, SX, Sport])

Historyword count: 158

First seen in the UK at the 2002 Motor Show, albeit badged as a Daewoo, the Kalos wowed the crowds with its avant-garde styling and neat interior detailing. The acquisition of Daewoo by General Motors and its subsequent demise, lead to the Kalos being reinvented as a Chevrolet from January 2005 onwards. If prices for the Chevrolets are too steep, you coulkd always seek out one of the older Daewoo models. Things kicked off for the Chevrolet Kalos with 1.2 and 1.4-litre engines offered in three or five door hatchback form. Trim levels ranged from entry-level S through SE to range topping SX but there was also a Sport option available with the 1.4-litre engine with nice leather seats and a naughtier-sounding exhaust but no extra performance. The Kalos Ikon was available briefly from August 2005 and there was also an SE Plus special edition which retailed for the same price as the SE but with extra equipment.

What You Getword count: 516

The styling is certainly eye-catching, although the exterior contours have not been penned at the expense of practicality. "When we designed it, we set out to produce an alternative to conventional lines and tread new paths in terms of design," says Giorgetto Giugiaro, explaining the philosophy behind the original design of the Kalos he did for Daewoo. You could say he hit that particular bullseye. The front end is quite unlike anything else on the road, the huge headlights striking in their clear glass lenses with indicators that are arranged almost like eyelids. The flanks of the Kalos are marked with three competing attention seekers. Firstly there's a swage line across the front door that heads rapidly south as soon as it encounters the rear doors. The front wheelarches are rounded, but the rears have a squared off blister above them which really shouldn't work but does. Finally there's a strange, almost vestigial, third window at the side that it's claimed, "optically loosens the rear of the car." Make of that what you will. The interior is not as striking as the bodywork but it isn't bad. The quality of materials palpably isn't as good as you'd find in the top superminis. You'll find some low-grade plastic around the air-conditioning controls and the wide range of different textures and types of plastic used elsewhere on the fascia make it look somewhat thrown together. The layout of the controls, on the other hand, is very simple and accessible. You should be able to leave the manual in the glovebox during the few seconds it takes to appraise yourself of the basic functions. The instruments are easy to read and attractive with the two dials surrounded by chunky silver rings, while the leather-trimmed steering wheel feels good in the hand. The passenger compartment is extremely spacious, due in no small part to the 2.48 metre wheelbase - one of the longest in the supermini class. The 955 millimetres of headroom tshould be more than enough for most. The rear seat splits in the normal 60/40 manner but also has a trick up its sleeve. You can not only fold it down, but also jack-knife it forward and secure it to the back of the front seats. This little party trick frees up a cavernous 735 litres of available luggage space, in effect more than quadrupling the usual capacity of 175 litres with the rear parcel shelf in place. Safety is well catered for with all models getting anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, twin front and side airbags, three-point belts on all five seats and ISOFIX anchorage points for a child seat in the back. Otherwise expect to find power assisted steering, central locking with alarm, electric front windows, cup holders front and rear, an auxiliary power outlet in the back and a tilt adjustable steering column. The SX adds air conditioning, electric rear windows, a height adjustable driver's seat, a tachometer, front fog lamps, a dipping rear view mirror and - last but not least - a picnic table on the back of the front passenger seat.

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Category: Small Runabouts

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This is an excerpt from our full review.
To access the full content library please contact us on 0330 0020 227 or click here

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