When I close my eyes and think of the least inspired vehicle imaginable, there is one car and one car only that comes to mind: the Chevy Aveo.
There's just something about that first generation Aveo that makes me think, "Why?"
- Why does it look so boring?
- Why did GM think America needed another Daewoo?
- Why would anybody pay money for one of these?
- Why would anyone who owned an Aveo go out in public without a mask on to hide the shame?
- Why would anybody buy a new or slightly used Aveo when there are still comparably priced Accords and Camrys that exist as well?
It's a car that makes absolutely no sense.
When I came across the particular Aveo pictured above, I suddenly had a whole host of new questions.
- Who puts a body kit on an Aveo?
- Who puts any more money than necessary into an Aveo?
- Were they somehow stuck with this Aveo and trying their hardest to make it not suck as badly?
- Did they think that this somehow made it look cool?
- Are F&F fans really this strapped for cash now?
- How much horsepower do cloudy headlights add?
I would have found the driver to ask them these questions, but the thing was, I had absolutely no idea what an Aveo driver would look like. I had never met one. Sure, I'd seen plenty on the roads, but they all had a habit of wearing large hats and sunglasses, presumably to hide from the shame.
It was beginning to look like my questions would never be answered, but then it happened. I met a real life, in the flesh, Aveo owner. I didn't know that she was an Aveo owner when I met her, or I would never have asked her to coffee, but at the end of our coffee date, I watched as she walked up to a red Aveo 5 door, unlocked it, and sat down inside.
Against all odds, not only did I now know an Aveo owner, but for some reason, I liked her.
- What was wrong with me?
- How could I actually like someone who drives an Aveo?
- Had my judgment completely failed me?
- If I went out in public with her, were people going to think that I was an Aveo owner?
- Could I really be compatible with someone who drove a car that thanks its lucky stars every time a smart ForTwo parks nearby so it isn't the worst car on the lot?
- It's not shallow to stop seeing a girl because of her car, right?
Despite all of those questions, I decided to see her again. And again. And again. Before I knew it, we were in a relationship and headed to the North Georgia mountains for a hike. In a twist that no one saw coming, I even voluntarily drove her car without insisting on wearing giant sunglasses and a large floppy hat. What can I say? I must be a romantic.
As it turned out, the Chevy Aveo was exactly as terrible as I had imagined. 100 torques are not a lot for city driving, and they are not even close to enough for mountain driving. The interior felt like the materials were sourced from a Latvian gulag, and there was no center armrest.
It did have features though. In fact, there were two of them. It offered the ability for you to remove the stock head unit and replace it with one that comes with a line-in port. It also offered a slot to the left of the steering wheel that was clearly designed with a storage purpose in mind. Maybe it holds the driver's giant sunglasses?
In short, it was a car that probably felt used when it came off the line and was clearly better suited for countries where motorcycles are used to transport whole families.
As I was trying to remember what it was like to drive on the highway without cruise control, the Aveo's owner informed me that she hadn't always had this car. In fact, her previous car had been a much nicer car. The Aveo owner's first car was actually a Volvo S80.
- A Volvo S80?
- How do you go from a Volvo S80 to a Chevy Aveo?
- Why would you do that?
- Did I miss the apocalypse?
- Is this all Obama's fault?
Turns out, the reason that she no longer drove the Volvo was that she had totaled it. After the wreck, her dad took the insurance money and bought her the Aveo, most likely making money off of the deal.
That's when it hit me: Her dad was punishing her for wrecking the Volvo. She had received a nice car as a hand-me-down, and when she couldn't take care of it, her dad punished her for her misdeed.
Suddenly, my world was changed. What had once been darkness was now flooded in light. The reason that people drive the Aveo is that they're being punished. Maybe they wrecked an S80. Maybe they got a DUI. Maybe they put eyelashes on a New Beetle. Whatever it was that they did, they now must suffer in automotive purgatory until they have done satisfactory penance for their wrongdoing.
It's not that people somehow get high enough to think the Aveo is a good car. It's not that anyone actually wants an Aveo. It's not like someone looks at a gently used Camry and thinks, "This is great, but an Aveo would be better." Every driver that you see on the road in an Aveo is being punished for committing some sort of automotive sin.
So wash off that salt. Clean out that clutter. Let it warm up a little before you drive it. Signal your turns. Don't hoon in inappropriate places. Only break the speed limit where you won't get caught. Short shift in residential areas. Follow at a safe distance. Otherwise, if you aren't careful, you may end up doing your own penance in a Chevy Aveo.