Price: RM118,888 (excluding insurance/roadtax)
On sale: Now
Tech Highlights: 1796 cc, in-line 4, 16-valve petrol engine with Double Continuous Variable Cam Phasing technology (D-CVCP), EFI, 141 ps, 176 Nm; 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission with Shiftronic, front-wheel drive, MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension
What is it?
Mid-sized MPV launched in 2010 (in Europe) using the same platform as the Cruze sedan. Primarily manufactured for global markets at GM’s Korean factory. Click here to know more about the Orlando.
What’s it like?
Knowing that the platform of the Orlando is similar to that of the Cruze created the expectation that the driving dynamics would also be similar, with allowance for the heavier weight and extra height. On the go-kart track where a preview session was conducted, the MPV showed itself to meet that expectation.
It had a planted feel as it was pushed hard round tight corners and body roll was well controlled. It’s hard to say how well the suspension copes with rough roads but with much European input in the engineering, it’s likely that the ride comfort should be ‘European’, which is to say firm and consistent.
It was difficult to form definite conclusions about the powertrain though as the units available had been put through some hard driving in training sessions prior to the media event. Generally, the ECOTEC engines are known to be fairly smooth and efficient and in terms of refinement, it can be said that the engine in the test unit had a robust, linear feel when accelerating hard.
The hip point of the driver’s seat is just right for Asians and entry is almost horizontal, which will be appreciated by older folks. Once in, the seats felt nice and firm with decent support, a design that should make long journeys fatigue-free.
Moving to the back, I checked out the third row. Recalling how, in the Zafira, the seats felt like they were simply resting on the floor so your legs had to bend awkwardly, I was pleased to see that the seat height is higher in the Orlando and is has true ‘theatre seating’ (the rear passengers sit higher than the front). But the backrests felt rather flat and on longer journeys, some people may get stiff backs. Understandably, it would be hard to have contoured seats and expect them to fold away completely flat.
Should you buy one?
Chevrolet has fairly long experience making MPVs and it shows in the Orlando with the nice little touches that add convenience. The styling can also be said to be a departure from the norm in some ways with a chunky shape that does benefit the interior.
For those who are moving to a MPV from a sedan – like the young father who has to do so out of necessity – the Orlando may make the change less ‘traumatic’ because it is still a bit of fun to drive. And who knows… once the practicality of a MPV is more and more appreciated, it may become hard to go back to a sedan!
By Chips Yap
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