Chevrolet Matiz -

Used Car Review

WHENEVER I'm asked about what would be a good car for people with families, I always say ‘anything with five doors'.

And when they ask ‘Why five doors?' I say because a three door might be cheaper, but getting little ones in and out of car seats in one is a recipe for serious back trouble!

Some small cars, like the Skoda Fabia, were only available with five doors, but another is the good value Chevrolet Matiz.

Now, by this stage the Korean-made city car is down to almost banger territory and as cheap as chips, but there are still quite a number out there with lowish miles and full service history - just the kind of car many of us need.

Some cars in the class will not even fit kids in the back but this one manages enough rear legroom for adults.

It's also good value for money, with high specification compared to some other city cars and very reasonable prices.

Engines are either three cylinder 800cc with 50bhp, or four cylinder 1 litre with 65, and performance around town is fair in either.

But if you're likely to use it for longer journeys, the 1 litre is a must, because the 800cc engine runs out of puff very quickly at motorway speeds, and because the larger unit is just as economical, managing 45-50mpg driven carefully.

The five speed gearchange is slick and the clutch is light, but the power steering is pretty lacking in feel at speed.

Roadholding is safe and sure, with a decent level of grip, and comfort is good over most surfaces.

The Matiz is generally very easy to drive, and a tight turning circle means parking and manoeuvring in town are fairly simple.

Inside, everything is simple and functional with a decently high driving position. The main dials were available in blue orange and green backgrounds, and are above the centre console, with warning lights in front of the driver.

The steering wheel is not adjustable but the driver's seat height can be changed in SE and SX models.

All have twin airbags, 60/40 split fold rear seat, remote locking, RDS CD radio and power steering. The SE adds body coloured door handles, internally adjustable door mirrors, vanity mirrors, electric front windows, digital clock and under seat tray.

Range-topping SX adds air con, side airbags, body coloured door mirrors, front foglamps, sunglasses holder, bigger alloys and electric rear windows.

Pay about £825 for an '09 09-reg SE, £1,225 for an '11 11-reg SE+.

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