Review: Chevrolet Spin 1.5 LTZ

By Niky Tamayo
 

Top Gear Philippines' Chevrolet Spin review

Launched in Brazil just last year, the Spin is Chevrolet's first serious venture into people-movers for emerging markets. Targeted at the likes of the Toyota Avanza and the Suzuki APV, it debuted with an old but serviceable 1.8-liter gasoline engine. This ensured both durability and a low price. But for the ASEAN market, Chevrolet decided to go with a more sophisticated 1.5-liter motor, mated to six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. This also raises the price a bit, making the Spin more expensive than its main competitors. But was this change worth it?

Top Gear Philippines' Chevrolet Spin review

STYLING

The Spin sports the familiar Chevrolet looks, with the split grille and the eagle-eye headlights. Some of the proportions are a bit awkward, with the huge grille accentuating the high cut of the prow and the rear end looking a bit odd and bland. But overall, it's a more modern-looking car than any of its local competitors. Clean lines and a big greenhouse make it look usefully large, though it's still a small car. Fifteen-inch wheels round off the package. Bigger would be better, but possibly to the detriment of ride comfort.

Top Gear Philippines' Chevrolet Spin review

INTERIOR

The interior is handsomely designed, with nice surfacing and a light, airy feel despite the preponderance of grays. The motorcycle-style instrument gauge is better integrated here than on the Sonic, but controls like the door locks and mirror adjustment are quirky. The seats are a bit too high off the floor, but they're supportive. The cabin is noticeably wider than the Nissan Grand Livina's or the Toyota Avanza's, but second-row legroom is smaller despite the longer wheelbase. On the bright side, the Spin squeaks through the balikbayan box test, the folding third row revealing deep and large compartment.

Top Gear Philippines' Chevrolet Spin review

Top Gear Philippines' Chevrolet Spin review

ENGINE PERFORMANCE

A displacement of 1.5 liters isn't much to motivate a seven-seater, but the six-speed automatic transmission makes the most of the situation. Very short gearing--with the first gear topping out at 45kph and the second at 60kph--gives it explosive off-the-line acceleration compared to its four-speed competitors. The manual-shifting mode is a delight, and is useful for engine-braking and overtaking. A long sixth gear turns just 2,500rpm at 100kph, and allows an astounding 18-20km/L at 80kph. Don't expect better than 6-8km/L in traffic, but as long as you're moving, mixed economy hovers in the 12-14km/L range.

RIDE AND HANDLING

The Spin may be wider than other mini-MPVs, but agood sight linemakes it very easy to thread through traffic. In terms of handling, it's aces. The heavy steering feels rather inert, but points the car with some verve. It corners with little lean, and firm damping keeps it well-controlled under braking and over heaves. The ride is very "European," hitting that comfortable medium between floaty and stiff, even with the 195/65 R15 GT Champiro Eco tires inflated to the recommended 35psi. While insulation feels thin around the doors, the Spin is nice and quiet at speed on the highway.

Top Gear Philippines' Chevrolet Spin review

EXTRA FEATURES

The Spin's equipment level is a mixed bag. While there's a stereo with USB and Bluetooth, there's no backing-up camera or even sensors. Which, let's face it, would be nice to have on a car this tall. That said, there's still a lot to like. Keyless entry, front and rear foglights, roof rail and alloy rims help to justify the P838,888 price tag, and there's tastefully restrained chrome everywhere. The diesel LTZ variant comes in at P908,888with a mere five-speed manual transmission, representing a possible P100,000 premium for the engine alone. Yowza.

THE VERDICT

While the Spin does have its compromises--notably in terms of rear legroom--it is more refined and more enjoyable to drive than most of the humdrum entries in this limited class. And thanks to the sophisticated drivetrain, it proves more economical than the competition, particularly on the highway, where the six-speed automatic handily outperforms the four-speed automatics in the Spin's chief competitors. While the diesel seems the more logical choice, the decent economy of the gasoline motor and that huge price premium mean that the gasoline LTZ is probably the pick of the bunch.

SPECS: CHEVROLET SPIN 1.5 LTZ

Engine: 1.5-liter 4-cylinder DOHC gasoline

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Power: 108hp @ 6,000rpm

Torque: 141Nm @ 4,000rpm

Drive: FWD

Seating: 7

Price: P838,888

Score: 16/20

Photos by Niky Tamayo

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  • r-type 9 months ago
    Id rather wait for the mahindra xylo and quanto diesel
    • Nobushino 10 months ago
      Ok...So will you use it to replace that motorcycle youve been using to collect debts?
      • r-type 10 months ago
        Such a condescending statement for a second hand jap user. Wait and see how mahindras will spread in our market
        • Nobushino 9 months ago
          Yaaawn.... yeah whatever Mr. 5' 6.. Please remind me to give a damn if ever ever that happens. (What the hell is a mahindra? Like i even give a damn? ) Other than that please stop trolling on this website with "I'd Rather wait" posts. And post pics if you actually "BUY" one. Have a nice day! : )
  • maranello_5775 9 months ago
    still waiting for the review of diesel variants,
    • Niky Tamayo
      Niky Tamayo 9 months ago
      We're still waiting for a media unit for the diesel variant. Rest assured, we will test it when they have one. ;)
      • jzimmer 9 months ago
        How many passengers could comfortably fit inside? Can a family of 6 survive during long trips to the province?
        • r-type 9 months ago
          Goodluck. Its the tightest in the segment along w the livina. The carens is the best choice in this segment
          • Niky Tamayo
            Niky Tamayo 9 months ago
            The Carens starts at 1.4m. It's not in "this segment".

            The Spin has probably the best front seats in the class, but the second and third rows don't have as much legroom as the APV and Avanza (note, the APV front seats are pretty meh). It compares favorably to the Grand Livina, however, which is lower.

            The suspension is good, people in the second row will be fine, unless they're short (seats too high for five footers), while the third row is truly for children only.
            • r-type 9 months ago
              Mahindra quanto is coming in next year 6 captains chair, high seating, torquey diesel, 13-16kpl
  • rdrogel 9 months ago
    Maybe there will be a future Big Test of Spin vs Avanza & APV.
  • neutral 9 months ago
    The spin is too long(4620mm) for its wheelbase(2620mm) as compared to Avanza(4140mm- length & 2655mm-wheelbase). If this is the case, Spin is longer than the Innova at 4585mm-length & wb-2750mm). The data was based on your buyers' guide.
  • r-type 10 months ago
    Such a condescending statement for a second hand jap user
  • GTi 9 months ago
    It would likely give the Avanza a run for it's money, as long as parts and maintenance are guaranteed down the line. The diesel is too expensive, however, especially considering the measly 1.3L displacement.
    • Niky Tamayo
      Niky Tamayo 9 months ago
      That's the crux of the problem. Buyers in this segment are really picky about maintenance and spare parts availability.

      Interestingly, I've seen feedback from some customers that they're getting 18 km/l on the highway as well, and 8-11 km/l in traffic... but perhaps lighter traffic than I drive in, every day.
      • GTi 9 months ago
        The FC does seem really dismal. Our 2005 2.4L Accord gets 6-7km/L city with a light foot. But then again, the new Vios exhibited similar FC. Perhaps it had to do with the green engine? Lower figures indicated in such reviews are more helpful, though. Shows what to expect in a worst-case scenario.
        • Niky Tamayo
          Niky Tamayo 9 months ago
          Yup. Can't really tell much from city figures until a car hits around 20,000 kilometers. By which time, most media test units are retired and sold at auction.
    • r-type 9 months ago
      Quanto and Xylo would sell these cars when they come in esp in the provinces
      • Niky Tamayo
        Niky Tamayo 9 months ago
        There have been rumors and gossip regarding the entry of Mahindra for years now. There are even a few units roaming the streets... whether private imports or mules for localization testing, we don't know.

        I'm not holding my breath. And even if they do come in, they'll suffer the same problems as Korean imports... higher import duties than ASEAN cars, making them more expensive than your typical Thai-made competitors.
        • r-type 9 months ago
          Disagree, i have insider info w the prices already :) get ready to have more options my filipino friends. Uour 500k money for second hand jap suv or brand new picanto can now be used for a Thar or Quanto :) hopefully pre selling early next year.
          • Niky Tamayo
            Niky Tamayo 9 months ago
            That would be something to see. The most basic Quanto (given the 5.99 lakh price) would cost about 650k landed (including customs duties, E-VAT, sales tax, ad valorem and shipping costs from India). I'd believe 600 flat if the distributor were willing to forego the 5% dealer mark-up and slash the distributor mark-up to encourage sales, but 500 flat is a stretch.

            The Alto, built in India, costs 430k here, despite starting at 2.9 lakh in India.

            Taxes for anything from outside the ASEAN or not covered by JPEPA suck.
            • r-type 9 months ago
              Correction: 500-550 for the Thar. For someone who wishes to opt for a real 4x4 diesel tougher and more affordable than the jimny. Quanto est. 600-650 w 4x4 as well, something the jap line up doesnt have. Anyway it has been inked. See the Indians pretty soon. Cant wait for my very own Bolero double cab 4x4 daily harabas vehicle, 2.5DI pls.
              • r-type 9 months ago
                Also cant compare them indian made koreans or japanese as they would turn out less for your money because its been marked up by the korean or jap partner. Best to go direct indian brand, and the quality indian brand is Mahindra while the quantity brand is Tata. Mahindra has a bright future ahead esp since acquiring sangyong, that will be sold here as well. Mahindra is also making 3 new b segment suvs. Very interesting as Mahindra are known for being designed tough as nails real no frills suvs. Owners have been known to hang on to their vehicles as long as they can, or inject their own designs and bring to the great Mahindra Expedition held regularly. I heard we will be having that soon in the Philippines as well, for all owners only ofcourse :) too bad the Thais are not positioning to make their own brand.
              • Niky Tamayo
                Niky Tamayo 10 months ago
                A more sustainable price for the completely stripped base Quanto is around 700k. 650k introductory works. 600k for the FWD would be suboptimal in terms of ROI, unless it's worked into an in-house financing plan.

                Tougher than the Jimny? The Jimny is a true ladder-frame, twin-live axle dedicated off-roader, built with all engine accessories high in the engine bay, specifically for water-fording. The Quanto is a cross-over with a low ride height, a strut and torsion beam suspension and front-wheel drive. (The AWD will likely cost 800 k) They're in no way comparable in terms of ability and toughness.
              • r-type 10 months ago
                Nicky i was refering to the Thar pitted against the Jimny.
              • Niky Tamayo
                Niky Tamayo 10 months ago
                Fair enough. Though that's more a direct competitor to the Gypsy (which isn't coming here)

                The Thar, I would be excited to see. ;)
  • r-type 9 months ago
    Obviously a typical narrow minded bland japanese cheapo
  • CliffT 6 months ago
    What is the water wading height/clearance for spin? How do you compare this to Ecosport now niky?
  • yyc 6 months ago
    Niky, nice review. Have you tried the spin on steep roads like Baguio, how it behaves with 7-passengers up the Kennon road, etc.
    Thanks
  • koolz_ 3 months ago
    hi

    we're looking for a family car with 900k budget..how is this compared to isuzu crosswind xt? would you prefer the spin in terms of maintenance (cost and availability), fc and how it can handle baguio with 6-7 people.. ? thanks!
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