Often mocked as uncool, the multipurpose vehicle (MPV) is set to rise again – if General Motors South Africa (GMSA) has any say in the matter.
MPVs are often labelled as a woman’s domain, with the design then promptly reverting to boring and boxy, as if estrogen serves only to dull the aesthetic sense.
The new Orlando’s “bold and aggressive looks”, as GMSA planning VP Ian Nicholls puts it, hopes to transcend the cliche of an MPV being nothing more than a mom’s taxi.
“We are staying miles away from that tag,” says Nicholls.
The Orlando, based on the Cruze platform, is GMSA’s ticket into the MPV segment, as it last had a competitor there with the Opel Zafira, some years ago.
Pricing for the seven-seater Orlando starts at R254 500, with two specification levels available. Both make use of a 1.8 l engine.
“We believe we have a good price point,” says Nicholls.
Competitors to the Orlando are the Toyota Verso and the Mazda 5.
The MPV market has been relatively flat compared with the booming entry-level segment, admits Nicholls, but adds that there is still a market for buyers seeking multiseat vehicles which do not need to venture offroad.
Adding the made-in-Korea Orlando to the Chevrolet stable now allows GMSA to offer a full range of bow-tie products across all segments.
SOME VEHICLE SPECIFICATIONS
MPV should mean exactly that: fit for nearly any purpose, whether it be carrying people, a few mountain bikes or a new big-screen television.
The Orlando allows for all of these options, with the second and third rows of seats folding down independently to allow for a range of interior layouts, including a completely flat load area.
The second row of seats can fold-and-tumble for ease of access to the third row of seats.
With both the second and third rows of seats folded down, the capacity of the Orlando is 1 499 litres. Loaded to the window line the capacity is 856 litres.
Other storage spaces include cup and coin holders for the front seat occupants, as well as document and bottle holders incorporated into the front and rear door side panels. A number of individual compartments are placed in the cargo area as well.
Perhaps the most ingenious of the storage areas is the one placed behind the facia of the audio system, accessible to both driver and front seat passenger. First seen as a gimmick on the original concept car, the Chevrolet interior design team have been able to integrate this feature into the production model as a reasonably large storage area, revealed by flipping up the face of the audio system.
This area is large enough for items such as an MP3 player, sunglasses, or a wallet. Placed in this storage area is an auxiliary jack for MP3 or iPod connectivity.
The Orlando has six airbags.
The vehicle is powered by a 1.8 l, 16-valve petrol engine with multipoint fuel injection – the same unit used in the Cruze.
Maximum power of 104 kW at 6 200 rpm, and peak torque of 176 Nm at 3 800 rpm.
Drive is via a five-speed manual transmission to the front wheels.
GM engineers measured fuel economy at 7.2 l/100 km for combined cycle operation, with carbon dioxide emissions at 171 g/km.
Two specification levels are available, namely LS and LT.
Standard items on the LS trim level include alloy wheels, power steering, height and depth adjustable steering wheel, air conditioner, power side mirrors, rear park assist, cruise control, ABS, electronic stability programme, traction control and brake assist.