Chevrolet Orlando meets the competition
We were reasonably impressed with the Chevrolet Orlando when we drove the new MPV on its European launch recently, but we couldn't ignore the fact that the golden bow-tie badge-bearing seven-seater was up against some particularly strong competition.
The compact MPV sector was conceived in 1996 with the introduction of the Renault Scenic and has since grown to become one of the mainstays of the family transport market. Now almost all the mainstream manufacturers have a small people carrier that can take seven - we take a look at how the Orlando stacks up against its rivals.
We've taken the closest models in each of the respective ranges to the 128bhp 2.0-litre Orlando, click below to see how they fared.
Citroen C4 Grand Picasso 2.0 HDi VTR+
Seats and space – 5/5
Five full seats means that there is plenty of room for carrying kids or bigger kids for a day out, but the Grand Picasso is a bit of a rarity in that you can still squeeze some stuff in what is left of the boot. The five back seats fold flat to give you a van-like boot if you need it.
Entertainment – 2/5
A big Citroen is not the car you buy if you are after something to fling around a track on your day off – the only thing this shares with Citroen's rally cars is the badge. The ride is nice and comfy, but the downside is that it is all a bit wallowy.
Money – 3/5
Get one of those diesels and you will find the C4 Grand Picasso quite frugal to run – up to 49.6mpg from the bigger, 2.0-litre version. That list price might be high, but Citroen has a history of offering tasty discounts.
Looks – 3/5
Not the sleekest, but not as boxy as, say, the Touran. It certainly looks like a people carrier rather than a big hatchback.
Ford Grand C Max Zetec 2.0 TDCi
Seats and space – 4/5
The middle seat of the middle row has a clever trick of folding into the one on its right that allows more space through the middle of the cabin. Boot space with all seven seats up is small though.
Entertainment – 5/5
This car is by far the most fun to drive of these five, and the 2.0-litre diesel is responsive and quick. This is the one to pick if you want to enjoy the drive home from dropping the kids off at school.
Money – 4/5
The fuel economy of 53.3mpg is up there with the other cars here. You'll get a decent level of toys, including sat nav as standard for one of the cheaper models in the list.
Looks – 4/5
Not radical, as it has to bear similarities to the rest of the Ford range, but it manages to pull off sliding doors without looking like a decorator's van.
Total - 17/20
Vauxhall Zafira Exclusiv 1.7 ecoFLEX
Seats and Space - 3/5
The Zafira was the first to offer seven seats in this segment, and they fold away in a clever, under-floor system, but times have moved on now and this car feels a little old and the innovations less fresh.
Entertainment - 2/5
As the Zafira offers the smallest engine in this class, it is also one of the slowest and noisiest. It handles surprisingly well, but the ride is a little harsh for a car made to carry children.
Money - 3/5
The Zafira cheats in this section by not offering a 2.0-litre diesel – instead you get a 1.7-litre with less power than all of its rivals. This means it offers the best fuel economy too, at 55.4mpg, but it does mean it loses a potential point.
Looks - 2/5
This is as poor as it gets in this comapny – boxy, shapeless and a little boring. A new and fresh look is needed.
Total - 10/20
Volkswagen Touran SE 2.0 TDI
Seats and Space - 2/5
Compared to seats that fold into each other, there is a not huge amount here that is innovative, but then the Touran is a few years old now. Boot space is small too. The seats are comfy and supportive though.
Entertainment - 4/5
The 2.0-litre diesel is a punchy and responsive offering that gets to 60mph in less than 10 seconds. It will take being flung around corners better than most in this grouping.
Money - 3/5
This is the most expensive car on offer here, and it doesn't quite feel worth it against new rivals. It comes with the solid Volkswagen build quality and aura, but it's still pricey. However, its decent 53.3mpg makes the running costs attractive.
Looks - 2/5
Like the Zafira, this needs a bit of a freshening up now, and the recent facelift wasn't quite enough to stop it looking its age.
Total - 11/20
Chevrolet Orlando 2.0 VCDi LT
Seats and Space - 4/5
There is nothing wildly new about the Orlando's seats, but they do offer a decent amount of leg space and the middle row flips forward to allow easy access to the rear. The remaining boot is still small, but will take a soft bag or two.
Entertainment - 3/5
The 129bhp engine in the Orlando is refined and quiet, even if it is not quick or entertaining. The driving experience is much the same, and makes it clear this is a car for practical rather than enjoyment purposes.
Money - 3/5
Where the Orlando's low price wins it points, the relatively poor efficiency loses them. It might be the equal newest car here with the Ford, but it is by no means the most frugal with it claiming only 47.1mpg.
Looks - 3/5
The front and rear ends of the Orlando could belong to different cars – the front is stylish and the car's larger proportions make the bow tie badge look appropriately sized, while the rear is gawkish and covered in glittery bits of unnecessary chrome.
Total - 13/20