How often do manufacturers entirely revamp a car? The last time we remember, it happened with the VW Jetta with the new and old ones looking entirely different. However, there is one more name joining those lists and it is the 2012 Chevrolet Orlando. The Orlando is the same one which Chevrolet markets as the Captiva in other markets. Not only this, Chevy is planning to release this Orlando in all the markets where it had the Captiva earlier. This coming from a manufacturer who gave us the Cruze, which was a ground up model is definitely commendable. Here at USA.Indiandrives.com, we got our chance to be dirty with a schmuck of car called as the Orlando. Hell, there are many things which would converge with the name as Orlando. Orlando Bloom and the likes. Well, there is much more to Orlando, even it being the name of a place in US. No longer is this car the sissy that it once was and follows the American pattern of everything sinister works. Care to read a few details from the spin with the Orlando.
The older car was a SUV while the newer one is more of an MPV. Does it cut the mustard? No, atleast not with us. The area around the grille resembles the one in the Cruze while the square head lamps are a strict no-no. Also, for the lower part of the grille, there is nothing much spectacular and a similar looking air intake system is present now. The outside rear view mirrors with their wide stalks feel out of place in this car. The 17 inch alloy wheels look nice on their boots and the squared out cut outs for the wheel arches also are noticeably much better. Also, the square stance towards the rear projects its MPV intentions all too easily rather than go for the SUV thing that the previous variant had. Out at the rear, there is the usual square tail lamps and a aluminium skid plate. The big glass area accords for enough visibility while reversing.
In the interiors, Chevy makes a conscious effort to mask its previous efforts. The new Orlando makes do with the typical GM interiors wherein they get a revamp every time the manufacturer thinks of upgrading the entire car. The steering wheel is shared with the Volt while the audio controls are limited to only a few on one side of the steering wheel. The meter dials are old school but with a hint of some modern things lurking underneath. There is a multi information display coming just above the dashboard. There is a blue wooden streak running just between the upper and lower dashboards. A huge lockable glove box is also present and use of softer materials all around is immediately apparent. What is not so apparent is that the system that the Orlando runs is one of the best around and not only is it funky to look at, it also has got a very good fit and finish to it. GM quality, recently has improved leaps and bounds and this coming from a company which recently stared itself down the bankruptcy path is definitely a good thing. GM doesn’t plan on taking its customers for a ride in the “pun intended” fashion and hence this car is a 7 seater. A 7 seater which seats 7 in decent comfort, if not over the board comfort. Then there is the Bluetooth and other assorted parnaphelia to keep the occupants pre-occupied. Also, not only does the space at the rearmost seat comfortable, but then its comparable with the other MPVs in its class. The boot space is just about adequate with all the 3 rows in place whereas fold the seats down and a considerable amount of space is amply liberated in there.
The Orlando uses one of the many engines from the Ecotec family that GM now uses to power most of its cars. This Ecotec engine happens to be the 2.4 liter unit which has got 174 horses running around and torque figure of 171 pound feet. As was the case with the earlier model, even this one boasts of having both auto as also manual gearboxes. 6 speed auto in our case. This one is standard on the top of the end LTZ model. NVH was obviously more than the previous generation variant and if this was due to the presence of the auto tranny is any one’s bet. For most of the other markets, GM has got a nice diesel engine under the hood, one with ample amounts of torque, for the US market, GM has preferred to keep only the gasoline unit for use in US. This direct injected unit is game enough for putting all its torque through the front wheels and isn’t a whimper unit as we expected. Admittedly, the acceleration lower down was a bit missing, however, in the end, it all boiled down to having usable power and the that the 2012 Orlando delivered in spades.
As for the ride quality, the General has generously ensured that the occupants stay calm and composed inside the cabin. This is one MPV which hates corners, unlike the likes of its other cousins. It also manages to get about everything which stands for ride quality and the handling has been suitably sacrificed at this altar. The handling is more of soggy rather than confidence inspiring, however GM never wanted this car to be a race track one. Hell, it even wouldn’t see the outskirts of a race track. For this very reason, GM haven’t even thought about getting in a 4 wheel drive version of this car. It would be sufficient enough to say that GM have achieved what they wanted with this car and that is cushy ride quality.
Brakes of this car work well and never once did we feel that we were out of control or something. Also, safety and other aspects, though couldn’t be verified, are said to be taken heed of from the previous customer feedbacks. The best part is that this MPV has got one of the best fuel efficiency figure and that happens to be 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg for the highway. Our tester returned about 28 mpg in combined driving conditions and this is the best figure for a MPV without any hybrid credentials or tech to boot for. Moreover, with its manual transmission, this figure would only be set to rise and GM predicts an increase of 2 mpg in both the city as also the highway figures.
2012 Chevrolet Orlando Photo Gallery
The look change operation that GM have done to ensure that its butch SUV now becomes a butch MPV is something which more for the comfortable side and doesn’t ride on its looks alone. It is reasonably stacked up with equipment and nonetheless, it also has got a nice thing going on for it courtesy the nose job that it has received. For starter, GM USA have priced the MPV starting from a price of $ 19,342. The 2012 Chevrolet Orlando price for the top end variant ends at a cool $25,119. This is true value for money given the real estate that this car envelops within itself. Money well spent, we would say.