Orlando is value without the thrills

Chevrolet Orlando
Chevrolet Orlando

HEADING for my first drive in Chevrolet’s first ever European MPV brought back many happy memories of holidays in Orlando with theme parks rating high in them and also a tremendous Phil Collins concert at the Bowl.

I reckoned it would be difficult for this car to produce the same adrenalin-pumping moments of those hair-raising roller-coaster rides – and I was right.

Don’t get me wrong, the Orlando has some good points to it but it just didn’t feel any better or really stand out from others in the MPV pack.

The best thing about this model is probably its price – ranging from £16,410 to £20,415. You get a whole lot for that but not the same quality as more expensive competitors.

The Orlando’s stance is more chunky than stylish, although it does have the Chevrolet ‘face’ with its split radiator grille and bow-tie badge.

There is also lots of room in this seven-seater with a good high-driving position and all-round vision.

The 60/40 split middle seats and two third row seats fold flat so there is lots of versatility, and load area ranges from 454 litres to a massive 1,499 litres.

There are three trim levels, LS, LT and LTZ, with a choice of three engines, a 139bhp 1.8-litre petrol and two 2-litre diesels units, one producing 128bhp and the other 161bhp.

I sampled the £18,655 LT model with the lower power diesel engine but felt it was quite punchy dropping up and down the six-speed manual gearbox.

It was fairly smart out of the blocks, reaching 62mph in 9.9 seconds and with a top speed of 112mph sat comfortably enough at motorway speeds.

Ride comfort wasn’t too bad either and the Orlando did handle well, even on some winding roads.

Economy figures for an MPV this size are good, showing 35.8mpg urban, 57.5mpg extra urban and 47.1mpg combined.

Standard equipment on the entry-level models include air conditioning, electric front windows and door mirrors and radio/CD with MP3 connection.

Move up to the LT and additions include rear parking sensors, steering wheel mounted audio controls, leather steering wheel and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Top-of-the-range LTZ buyers will also get 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, rain sensor windscreen wipers, automatic headlights, auto-dimming rear view mirror and power folding door mirrors.

The Orlando isn’t built for thrills but it is an MPV that could be the ideal family vehicle with lots of room for seven passengers and luggage - and with an affordable price that could lure you towards this Chevrolet.