Orlando is a very popular Florida holiday resort so it is not really surprising that the American motor manufacturer Chevrolet chose that name for its seven seater recreational vehicle which is also fun to drive and ideal for family holiday transport especially on those long haul trips to the South of France which are such a favourite of mine writes Bryan Longworth.
However, despite the American name the Orlando is built in South Korea by Chevrolet following the takeover by them several years ago of the former Daewoo motor manufacturer who had a reputation for producing popular cars that had a cheap and cheerful image.
But now Chevrolet has had enough time to start producing cars with a more upmarket image and the Orlando is one such people carrier that has established an impressive reputation in this quite competitive MPV market sector.
For a start the Orlando has a stylish body which is arguably the best of the seven seater people carriers from rivals such as Ford and Renault and it has versatile seating in a 2-3-2 configuration with the two rear seats folding flat into the boot floor and are reasonably easy to put in place when extra passenger capacity is needed.
The two rear seats are for children or smaller adults and with them in place as with all such vehicles load space is limited but I reckon most of the time this will be used as a five seater which means plenty of space for luggage and shopping.
My test car was the Orlando VCDi 163 LT automatic which provided very relaxed and economical motoring and I would certainly recommend the automatic model to any potential owner because it is a smooth system that makes driving more stress free especially on those aforementioned long holiday trips.
The 163bhp engine provides a top speed of 121mph, a zero to 60mph acceleration time of 11 seconds, an average fuel consumption of just over 40mpg and costs £20,935.
Orlando will have big family appeal because of its passenger carrying capacity and such owners will not be disappointed because the vehicle has plenty of passenger space is very comfortable and easy to get into and out of and it has quite user friendly switchgear and instruments.
In fact access to the third row of seats which is often a problem in such vehicles was quite easy due to the fold and roll facility of the second row of seats once the driver has got used to the system.
Orlando also has a very useful safety feature if it is involved in an accident for it is fitted with crash sensor technology where the doors unlock automatically making it much easier for emergency services to reach those inside the vehicle.
There was only one feature I was not happy about - the speedometer. It was tucked away to the right of the instrument panel behind the steering wheel and lights stalk and the driver’s right hand plus the fact that it was very difficult to see when driving in bright and low Autumnal sunshine and at times I had to estimate the speed which is not good When speed cameras and following police cars are about!
Another bonus for Orlando owners is the five year warranty which helps to make this Chevrolet a desirable seven seater for family owners especially wanting a vehicle that offers so much in this market sector.
My Verdict: A tempting Chevy MPV.
Model: Chevrolet Orlando VCDi 163 LT.
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel.
Transmission: Six speed automatic.
Top speed: 121mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 60mph 11 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 40.4mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 186g/km.