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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For The Kalos has a comfortable ride, and there's plenty of room for four people

Against It's dull to drive, cabin plastics feel low-rent and has a low Euro NCAP crash rating. Engines are noisy

Verdict It's a reasonable car, but others provide more for similar money

Go for… 1.4 16v SX

Avoid… 1.4 8v

Chevrolet Kalos Hatchback
  • 1. Residual values aren't as bad as you might expect, so it's not as cheap as you might think
  • 2. It's reasonably spacious and pretty well equipped towards the top of the range
  • 3. Some owners report that the front wheels are easily knocked out of alignment
  • 4. One or two clutch faults have been reported
  • 5. Engines can be breathless and raucous
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Chevrolet Kalos Hatchback full review with expert trade views

The Kalos (which began life as a Daewoo) isn’t a bad car - far from it, in fact. It's just that there are many more able cars out there that provide more talent and better value for similar, or even less, money.

On the plus side, the ride is nice and composed, soaking up most bumps well. It's a reasonably spacious car, too, pretty well equipped towards the top of the range and wind and road noise are kept to a minimum.

It doesn't like being chucked into corners, however, with the body leaning and the tyres squealing all too obviously. The engines can be breathless and raucous, too, while the steering is light and uncommunicative. To cap it all, the cabin is drab.

In short, it does all the major stuff with a reasonable degree of competence, but it doesn't excel in any area; not worthy of a detention but short on house points.

Trade view

John Owen

Cheap as chips, but too much vinegar

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

There are three trim levels to choose from: S, SE and SX. The base S is available only with the 1.2 engine, but gives you a passable amount of kit, including central locking, electric front windows and anti-lock brakes.

SE trim adds remote central locking and side airbags, whereas SX trim does much better: air-con, electric rear windows and a CD player are all provided. The trims didn't change very much when the Kalos morphed from Daewoo to Chevrolet, either.

The Kalos has had three engines during its lifespan. The entry-level 70bhp 1.2 potters along very nicely and cruises well, but it's slow to accelerate. There are two versions of a 1.4-litre unit: an eight-valve giving 83bhp and a 16-valve giving 92bhp. In both cases there's a little more performance on tap than in the 1.2, but the engine tone is more thrashy and harsh.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Reasonable demand for most models, although 1.2 SE in oversupply

James Ruppert
Used car guru

When it was new, the Kalos's prices were reasonably competitive with other cars in the supermini class, although many rivals were better. However, its residual values aren't as bad as you might expect, so used examples hold a good chunk of their original value, which you won't necessarily get the out and out bargain you were hoping for.

On the other hand, running costs are reasonable. All versions hover around the 40mpg mark for fuel consumption, for a start. The 1.2 gives 42.8mpg, the 8v and 16v versions of the 1.4 give 37.7mpg and 40.4mpg respectively, and with an auto gearbox, the 16v gives 37.2mpg.

Insurance costs are nice and cheap, too. The 1.2 falls into group three, while the 1.4 versions are split between groups four and five.

Servicing costs are around average for the class, as are the 10,000-mile service intervals.

Trade view

John Owen

Cheap as chips, but too much vinegar

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

The Kalos began life with a Daewoo badge, and not only does that company has a pretty solid record when it comes to reliability, the Kalos also happens to be one of Daewoo's most dependable models, according to our data. It didn’t change much mechanically when the Chevrolet badge arrived, so there’s no need to worry about reliability on these newer versions, either.

One thing you might worry about is that some owners report that the front wheels are easily knocked out of alignment, which makes the tyres wear a lot faster than normal. You could need a fresh set every 10,000 miles, so it's worth getting the alignment checked before you buy. One or two clutch faults have been reported, too, so keep an eye on that when you take a test drive.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Reasonable demand for most models, although 1.2 SE in oversupply

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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