The latest seven-seater family wagon to make its way to South Africa from Chevrolet is called the Orlando. In the wake of the recently launched Captiva the Orlando offers a similar seating arrangement though with a lower, more MPV-like driving position. Where the Captiva is aimed at the slightly higher price bands for the top models, the Orlando offers great value for money.
The Orland is aptly named, starting with the all-American styled SUV front end with a huge bowtie stapled to the now familiar Chev face. It’s visually striking and rather macho for an MPV. The design strategy was to connect two box shapes in an appealing way while retaining the appearance of loads of space both inside and out. I’ll leave you to decide how you think it turned out.
Two trim levels are available, starting with the LS, which I have dubbed Low Spec for easy reference. It comes standard with a long list of features, losing out to the LT mainly in trim quality. The LS gets cloth instead of leather seats and the plastic around the dashboard doesn’t get a nice veneer. Both models boast enough interior space to easily carry the seven-seater mantle.
Just one engine is offered, a 1.8-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol. It’s also offered in the Cruze, whose platform the Orlando shares. With 104kW at 62200rpm and 176Nm of torque at 3800rpm it’s not a bad engine choice, but will no doubt require a fair bit of revving to get things moving if all seven seats are filled. Those hoping for an automatic version will be disappointed, as it will only be available with a five-speed manual gearbox. It may be the lesser of two evils as the Cruze auto proved a big disappointment.
On the ride, handling and roadholding score sheet the Orlando ranks as fairly pleasant, though enthusiastic driving is rather pointless. Suffice to say its road manners at 120kph are commendable. Ride quality is compliant as it should be and roll even at higher speeds is well contained. Thank the well-sorted Cruze for most of the above.
At R254 400 for the LS and R295 000 for the LT the Orlando offers a lot of metal and a great bag of utility for the money. But it’s up against a sterling set of competitors, including the Toyota Verso, Mazda 5, Nissan Grand Livina, Peugeot 5008 and the Renault Grand Scenic, to name a few. Despite its appeal, the Orlando fails to really stand out from the crowd, relying mainly on its styling for a point of difference. I don’t see too many stay-at-home dads choosing this over all the other options.
Orlando 1.8 LS – R254 400
Orlando 1.8 LT – R295 000