Thursday, 9 December 2010

Chevrolet Orlando

It's been a bit of a dry spell recently for new car launches. Winter normally is; perhaps it's the cold dark nights that make car designers depressed. Or the fact that new cars don't sell well in the winter, and a spring or summer launch is sure to boost sales of a brand new design.

But if you happen to be a budget car maker trying desperately to shake off the terrible image of the previous owner, then your sales will be low year round, and it doesn't matter too much. And if your parent company want to release a new model of a car at a premium price, and you get the car as a trial run, then it makes perfect sense to launch in winter, so that the premium one can be launched in spring, ready to take the large number of orders.

So Chevrolet, formerly Daewoo (remember them? Buy a car one year, get a new one the next year) have just launched the MPV, the Orlando. It looks like it might just be the next Zafira. But I think that they've actually outsmarted Opel/Vauxhall on this one and launched an MPV that looks more like an SUV. Inside, it is quite futuristic and stylish without making you feel like Captain Kirk whenever you want to nip to the shops (see Honda? It can be done)

The styling queues smack of the Kia Soul - who would have thought that 10 years ago? - and it actually looks pretty good. It's a decent looking car and heading in the right direction. Other manufaturers should take note - the reason MPVs died a death is because they were superceded by SUVs, so it makes sense to adopt all the good features of SUVs and all the good features of MPVs and roll them into one nice package.

As far as MPVs go, this is pretty much spot on with today's market. Trouble is, it's Vauxhall's budget brother, but, at prices starting from £16,395 and the Zafira starting from £14,995, it doesn't make much sense until the new Zafira is launched. Even then, will the new Zafira match the Orlando? I don't know, so buying one just now is a bit of a gamble. You'd be better hammering the price down on an old-style Zafira.

You'd be better to wait until the new Zafira is launched. If it's more expensive than the Orlando, the Orlando is a clear winner.

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