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Chevrolet Orlando - the perfect mix of bold and new

9th February 2011 Print
Chevrolet Orlando

A thousand things to do in a day. Fun, entertainment and relaxation for family and friends. That's the holiday spirit Chevrolet has packed into its first ever European MPV. Like the Chevrolet models recently launched in other market sectors, it doesn't follow convention. Orlando's design – part MPV, part crossover – breaks the rules of a historically conservative segment; it makes a statement and stands out from the crowd.

Chevrolet's new compact MPV brings swagger to the segment by adopting a bolder look with its low roofline and crossover inspired silhouette, while retaining the distinctive and recognizable Chevrolet 'face' depicted by the split radiator grille and bow-tie badge.

Based on the show car concept first seen in 2008, the Chevrolet Orlando is nevertheless a true family car for the times, combining 7-seater practicality, interior flexibility and generous load space.

"We're confident the Orlando not only brings great value for money to the MPV class but at the same time something fresh – a certain function with attitude, as we put it," says Wayne Brannon, president and Managing Director of Chevrolet Europe. "I believe it will also bring more new customers to the Chevrolet brand."

"The new Orlando MPV has a key strategic role to play in Chevrolet's continued product offensive in Europe as it kicks off an ambitious seven-product launch program over the next 15 months."

There's no question that the Orlando will offer a refreshing alternative to many of the MPVs currently on the market. The distinctly recognizable Chevrolet ‘face’ is complemented by a profile characterized by the low swept roofline and the muscular, protruding wheel-arches, housing 16, 17 or 18 inch wheels. The wheel arches enhance a 'body in, wheel out' appearance while at the same time ensuring Orlando keeps its agile, sporting stance.

Orlando's space, storage and safety

While the exterior of the new Chevrolet Orlando is sure to attract plenty of attention, the interior too features many of the latest design cues from Chevrolet such as the Corvette-inspired dual cockpit and ambient blue backlighting to the centre console. Distinctive design is nothing without well-thought-out functionality however, so the 'theater-style' seating arrangement of the Orlando's three rows of seats, the generous load area and the numerous storage solutions will also grab the attention of family motorists.

The interior seating is referred to as 'theatre-style' because in spite of the sweeping roof-line, designers have succeeded in raising the second and third rows which allow the Orlando's occupants to get an even better view both forwards and to the side and without compromising head-room. In fact headroom in the third row of seats in the Orlando is superior to a number of competitor MPVs.

Numerous seating configurations are possible with either second or third rows folded independently or together to make a completely flat load area. The second seat row also has a roll-and-fold facility for both the left and right-hand outer seats to allow easy access for passengers into, and out of, the third row.

And when the time comes to shifting large loads of cargo, Orlando's load area is one of the most voluminous in the compact MPV class with 1,499 litres available when both rows of seats are folded (856 litres below window line).

Any hard-working family car needs plenty of storage space for all the bits and pieces that collect inside. Like the original concept car, the final production version of the Orlando obliges with a range of compartments of different shapes and sizes and different locations, including a coin holder and two large cup holders in the center console, map and bottle holders integrated into the front and rear doors and a number of individual compartments in the cargo area.

However, perhaps the most ingenious is a storage area hidden behind the front fascia of the audio played, and within easy reach of the both the driver and passenger. Seen originally on the Orlando concept car, designers have been able to integrate a usefully large area which is revealed by flipping up the face of the stereo, and large enough for such items as an MP3 player, sunglasses and wallets. Within the space itself there is also a standard auxiliary jack and a USB port for MP3 or iPod connectivity, depending on the trim level.

Safety for the vehicle's occupants is always a paramount consideration for this class of car, and in Orlando owners will be reassured by both the attention to detail and the inclusion of the latest technology that has gone into this aspect of the car's design. Most of Orlando's body structure is constructed of high strength steel to form an effective passenger safety cage providing protection in the event of a collision to the front, rear and side of the car. Should a collision occur, Orlando's occupants will be protected by six airbags – twin front, side and curtain.

One of the biggest challenges often faced by emergency services when assisting at the scene of an incident is helping the occupants of vehicles when the doors are locked. However, this is not a scenario that Orlando owners will be faced with; Orlando is fitted with crash sensor technology, where the doors unlock automatically on detection of an impact.

Three engines, three trim levels to fit every family's needs

Under the bonnet there is a choice of three of Chevrolet's fuel efficient engines, one petrol and two diesels. All engines are transversely mounted 4-cylinder units with double overhead camshafts, 16 valves and either multi-point fuel injection, or in the case of the diesels, common rail technology. All the engines have a cast-iron cylinder block and alloy head.

The one petrol engine available at launch is a 1.8 litre which produces 141 hp at 6200rpm and 176Nm of torque at 3800rpm. Maximum speed for this version is 115mph. Emissions and fuel economy from the 1.8 petrol are competitive with emissions at 172g/km and consumption at 39mpg.

The two diesel engines are of the same displacement but tuned to give different power outputs and drive characteristics. The heart of both engines is a 2.0-litre with 4 valves per cylinder and common rail injection fuel system. However, the more powerful of the two produces 163 hp at 3800rpm and offers 360Nm of torque at 2000rpm. The second output version has 130 hp and 315Nm at the same engine speeds.

Maximum speed of the Orlando for the diesel engine with 130 hp is 112mph and with 163 hp is 121mph. Emissions and fuel economy are at an even more competitive 159g/km and 47 mpg for both.

Customers will also be able to choose from three different trim levels when Orlando goes on sale. Orlando's launch marks a shift for Chevrolet Europe as it adopts the same trim names being implemented globally; expect LS, LT and LTZ trims to become the norm in future Chevrolets. And in another first for Chevrolet Europe, only cars sold in right hand drive markets will carry the trim badge on the exterior.

Whatever model customers opt for they are guaranteed a high level of equipment with standard items even on the entry level LS including electronic stability control, six airbags, and power mirrors.

The mid-range LT version also features such items as parking sensors and steering wheel mounted audio controls, while the LTZ gets larger 17-inch alloy wheels, auto dipping rear view mirror and electronic cruise control as examples.

Being based on Chevrolet's successful and award winning Cruze saloon, already proven to offer excellent ride and handling and safety, Orlando drivers are assured of a safe, yet involving and rewarding drive. The Orlando's well proven set up utilizes McPherson struts for the front suspension and compound crank axle for the rear.

Emulating the successful Chevrolet Cruze, the Orlando's chassis has been tuned to provide the ideal compromise between ride comfort and agility. McPherson struts used for the front suspension use hydraulic bushings which are often found in more expensive vehicles, and provide increased ride isolation for passengers and controlled absorption of variable road surfaces.

The advanced compound crank (torsion beam) system at the rear is used as it offers the perfect compromise between suspension control combined with savings in weight and space. A torsion beam system can also be easily tuned to accommodate the different vehicle and engine weights.

Orlando's chassis and body structure have also been engineered with high reserves of safety as a key consideration. Sixteen-inch ventilated front disc brakes are fitted across the range, with sixteen-inch solid discs at the rear and with electronic ABS acting on all wheels. All chassis also benefit from electronic brake force distribution, a system which governs the amount of braking at each wheel to ensure the shortest stopping distances, traction control to keep in check unintended driver exuberance and for when road conditions are wet or slippery, electronic stability control and hydraulic brake assist.

Full production of the Chevrolet Orlando started in October at General Motor's South Korea manufacturing facilities and the car is scheduled to go on sale across Europe in early 2011.

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Chevrolet Orlando