2012 Chevrolet Orlando MPV Review

2012 Chevrolet Orlando Review
2012 Chevrolet Orlando Multi-Purpose Vehicle
By Daniel Barron, Toronto Sun
Nothing Mickey Mouse about Orlando
Nearly three years after Chevrolet introduced the Orlando show car at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, the production vehicle of the same name is ready to make its debut in Canada.
The seven-seat Orlando multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) fills a hole in the Chevrolet line-up that the Uplander minivan left empty when it went out of production in 2009. Orlando features the passenger capacity of Uplander despite being more than 500 mm shorter in overall length (4652 mm, compared to Uplander’s 5191) and riding on a shorter wheelbase (2760 mm vs. 3077, respectively). Orlando is marginally wider, at 1836 mm (Uplander was 1830).
Built on the same platform as the Cruze sedan, the Orlando will be built alongside that car in South Korea. Though the Orlando show car was equipped with a 2.0-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder engine, the production model will have a 2.4-litre gasoline inline-four under the hood. This engine, which is also used in the Chevrolet Equinox, will produce an estimated 178-horsepower.
The engine will be mated to a choice of either a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission.
Orlando rides on Macpherson struts up front and a torsion beam suspension in the rear, referred to as a compound crank axle. The idea is to provide better straight-line stability but without the lateral deflection during cornering. Four wheel disc brakes (ventilated up front) provide the stopping power with an anti-lock system along to provide control in emergency situations.
Chevrolet says Orlando bucks the trend of “bland” designs in the MPV segment, thanks to features like a low roofline, crossover-inspired silhouette, muscular, protruding wheel-arches, and 16- or 18-inch wheels. The coefficient of drag is in the 0.325 range, depending on body configuration.
Although the Orlando does feature a sweeping roofline, GM says designers were still able to raise the second and third row seats in order to allow better visibility for rear occupants. Of note, is that at 1633 mm in height, Orlando is almost 200mm shorter in overall height than Uplander.
In terms of interior space – no doubt a big priority for shoppers in this segment – the Orlando includes several compartments in the center console, front and rear doors, and the cargo area. The boxy shape of the vehicle also lends itself to a more versatile interior that can hold larger objects.
The cargo space behind the rear seats is just 89 litres, but that expands to 727 with the 3rd row stowed and 1,487 with the middle row also folded.
Like the new Sonic subcompact, the Orlando is influenced by its performance-minded brethren – GM says the interior is “Corvette-inspired”, with features such as a dual cockpit and ambient blue centre console backlighting.
Standard equipment on all Orlando models, meanwhile, will include power windows and locks, remote keyless entry, StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, and six airbags.
“We’re confident Orlando brings the great value and fuel efficiency for which Chevrolet is known to the MPV segment, but also something fresh – function with attitude. With its fuel efficiency, versatility and strong safety story, the Orlando will bring more new customers to the Chevrolet brand here and across Canada,” says Marc Comeau, GM Canada’s vice president of Chevrolet Canada.
Orlando will be available to Canadians later in 2011, with further details, including pricing, announced closer to the launch date.
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