Chevrolet launches 2011 Orlando minivan in Europe, hopes to attract new customers

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 27, 2010

Chevrolet’s new Orlando model has an unconventional appearance, which the carmaker hopes will attract customers in Europe's medium minivan segment. The Orlando features a sweeping roofline that makes it look almost like a crossover.

At the minivan's press launch, Federico Sanguinetti, CEO of Chevrolet Italy, said that the Orlando offers the “driving dynamics of a passenger car, the look of an SUV and the versatility and cargo space of a minivan.”

This minivan is aimed at consumers who want to downsize from a seven-seat large minivan to a medium minivan, which provides five seats for adults and two more seats for children in a third row.

The Orlando’s pricing is very attractive. It is about 15% less expensive than rivals -- such as the Ford Grand C-Max or Opel/Vauxhall Zafira – that are offered with the same standard equipment.

Chevrolet claims that its 1,500 liters of cargo space is one of the most generous in the segment. Chevrolet based the Orlando on GM's global Delta II architecture that was also used to underpin the Opel/Vauxhall Astra and Chevrolet Cruze compact cars.

According to Chevrolet Europe Managing Director Wayne Brannon, the brand seeks to boost its European presence by 2016 to account for two thirds of the market segment. Brannon adds that the Orlando will play a major role in achieving this goal. Currently, the brand covers a quarter of the market segment.

Just beneath the hood, customer can choose three fuel efficient engines from Chevrolet. Two of them are diesel-powered with the third being gasoline powered. The gasoline engine has 1.8 liters and can deliver power at 6,200 rpm of 141 hp with maximum torque of 176 Nm coming in at 3,800 rpm.

Maximum speed offered by the engine has been measured at 185 kph with CO2 emissions at 172 g/km and fuel consumption being at 7.3 liters for every 100 kilometers. The two diesel engines meanwhile are both the 2.0-liter 4-valve cylinder type and have a rail injection fuel system.

While they may have similar displacements, the two diesel engines have been tuned to ensure that they have different power outputs and unique drive characteristics. The first engine can deliver 163 hp of power at 3,800 rpm with maximum torque at 2,000 rpm of 360 Nm.

Maximum speed for this engine is 195 kph. The second engine meanwhile has less power at 130 hp and maximum torque at 315 Nm, at the same speeds. Maximum speed is 180 kph. However the two have the same CO2 emissions at 159 g/km with fuel economy also the same at 6 liters/100 km. Regardless of what engine is chosen, they all have 4-cylinder units that are transversely mounted and have double overhead camshafts.

The engines also have 16 valves and have a multi-point fuel injection for the gasoline engine and the common rail technology for the diesel option. In addition, all the three engines offered for the Chevrolet Orlando have an alloy head and a cast-iron cylinder block.

The choices are not limited to the engine as customers also have the option to select between three different trim levels. This will be offered once the Chevrolet Orlando starts being on sale. The launch of the Chevrolet Orlando will also celebrate a change in Chevrolet Europe as it will be using the same trim names used worldwide. Customers can therefore hope to see the LS, LT, and LTZ trims become the standard.

Cars will also have on its exterior a trim badge but this is limited only to those on sale in right-hand drive markets, another first for Chevrolet Europe. Regardless of what model they want, customers are ensured that they get the standard items plus a high level of equipment like the six airbags, power mirrors, and electronic stability control.

This is equipped even in the entry level LS. The LT variants meanwhile, which are considered to be at the mid-range, have extra features like the audio controls mounted on the steering wheel and the parking sensors. The LTZ has the electronic cruise control, the auto dipping rear view mirror, and the alloy 17-inch wheels.

The Orlando is mainly based on the brand’s award-winning and highly successful Cruze sedan. As such, customers can expect excellent handling and ride in addition to having a safe and rewarding drive. The Chevrolet Orlando also manages to use the McPherson struts on its front suspension and even the compound crank axle on the rear.

Following the success of the Cruze, the chassis of the Chevrolet Orlando was tuned in a manner that it balances agility and ride comfort. Going back to the McPherson struts used on its front suspension, it has the hydraulic bushings that are only seen in more high-end vehicles. Passengers also benefit from the enhanced ride isolation and the controlled absorption regardless of the road surface.

Press Release

Chevrolet Orlando

A thousand things to do in a day. Fun, entertainment and relaxation for family and friends. That's the vacation spirit Chevrolet has packed into its first ever European MPV. Like the Chevrolet models recently launched in other market sectors, it doesn't follow convention. Chevrolet Orlando's design - part MPV, part crossover - breaks the rules of a historically conservative segment; it makes a statement and stands out from the crowd.

Chevrolet's new compact MPV brings swagger to the segment by adopting a bolder look with its low roofline and crossover inspired silhouette, while retaining the distinctive and recognizable Chevrolet 'face' depicted by the split radiator grille and bow-tie badge.

Based on the show car concept first seen in 2008, the Chevrolet Orlando is nevertheless a true family car for the times, combining 7-seater practicality, interior flexibility and generous load space.

"We're confident the Orlando not only brings great value for money to the MPV class but at the same time something fresh - a certain function with attitude, as we put it," says Wayne Brannon, president and managing director of Chevrolet Europe. "I believe it will also bring more new customers to the Chevrolet brand."

"The new Chevrolet Orlando MPV has a key strategic role to play in Chevrolet's continued product offensive in Europe as it kicks off an ambitious seven-product launch program over the next 15 months."

There's no question that the Orlando will offer a refreshing alternative to many of the family vans currently on the market. The distinctly recognizable Chevrolet face is complemented by a profile characterized by the low swept roofline and the muscular, protruding wheel-arches, housing 16, 17 or 18 inch wheels. The wheel arches enhance a 'body in, wheel out' appearance while at the same time ensuring Chevrolet Orlando keeps its agile, sporting stance.

Orlando's space, storage and safety

While the exterior of the new Chevrolet Orlando is sure to attract plenty of attention, the interior too features many of the latest design cues from Chevrolet such as the Corvette-inspired dual cockpit and ambient blue backlighting to the centre console. Distinctive design is nothing without well-thought-out functionality however, so the 'theater-style' seating arrangement of the Orlando's three rows of seats, the generous load area and the numerous storage solutions will also grab the attention of family motorists.

The interior seating is referred to as 'theater-style' because in spite of the sweeping roof-line, designers have succeeded in raising the second and third rows which allow the Chevrolet Orlando's occupants to get an even better view both forwards and to the side and without compromising head-room. In fact headroom in the third row of seats in the Orlando is superior to a number of competitor MPVs.

Numerous seating configurations are possible with either second or third rows folded independently or together to make a completely flat load area. The second seat row also has a tumble-fold facility for both the left and right-hand outer seats to allow easy access for passengers into and out of the third row.

And when the time comes to shifting large loads of cargo, Chevrolet Orlando's load area is one of the most voluminous in the monocab class with 1,499 liters available when both rows of seats are folded (856 liters below window line).

Any hard-working family car needs plenty of storage space for all the bits and pieces that collect inside. Like the original concept car, the final production version of the Orlando obliges with a range of compartments of different shapes and sizes and different locations, including a coin holder and two large cup holders in the center console, map and bottle holders integrated into the front and rear doors and a number of individual compartments in the cargo area.

However, perhaps the most ingenious is a storage area hidden behind the front fascia of the audio and within easy reach of the both the driver and passenger. Seen originally on the Orlando concept car, designers have been able to integrate a usefully large area which is revealed by flipping up the face of the audio, and large enough for such items as an MP3 player, sunglasses and wallets. Within the space itself there is also a standard auxiliary jack and optional USB port for MP3 or iPod connectivity, depending on the trim level.

Safety for the vehicle's occupants is always a paramount consideration for this class of car, and in Chevrolet Orlando owners will be reassured by both the attention to detail and the inclusion of the latest technology that has gone into this aspect of the car's design. Most of Orlando's body structure is constructed of high strength steel to form an effective passenger safety cage providing protection in the event of a collision to the front, rear and side of the car. Should a collision occur, Orlando's occupants will be protected by six airbags - twin front, side and curtain.

One of the biggest challenges often faced by emergency services when assisting at the scene of an incident is helping the occupants of vehicles when the doors are locked. However, this is not a scenario that Chevrolet Orlando owners will be faced with; Orlando is fitted with crash sensor technology, where the doors unlock automatically on detection of an impact.

Three engines, three trim levels to fit every family's needs

Under the hood there is a choice of three of Chevrolet's fuel efficient engines, one gasoline and two diesels. All engines are transversely mounted 4-cylinder units with double overhead camshafts, 16 valves and either multi-point fuel injection, or in the case of the diesels, common rail technology. All the engines have a cast-iron cylinder block and alloy head.

The one gasoline engine available at launch is a 1.8 liter which produces 141 hp at 6200rpm and 176Nm of torque at 3800rpm. Maximum speed for this version is 185kph. Emissions and fuel economy from the 1.8 gasoline are competitive with emissions at 172g/km and consumption at 7.3 liters/100km.

The two diesel engines are of the same displacement but tuned to give different power outputs and drive characteristics. The heart of both engines is a 2.0-liter with 4 valves per cylinder and common rail injection fuel system. However, the more powerful of the two produces 163 hp at 3800rpm and offers 360Nm of torque at 2000rpm. The second output version has 130 hp and 315Nm at the same engine speeds.

Maximum speed of the Chevrolet Orlando for the diesel engine with 130 hp is 180kph and with 163 hp is 195kph. Emissions and fuel economy are at 159g/km and 6 liters/100km, respectively, for both.

Customers will also be able to choose from three different trim levels when Orlando goes on sale. Chevrolet Orlando's launch marks a shift for Chevrolet Europe as it adopts the same trim names being implemented globally; expect LS, LT and LTZ trims to become the norm in future Chevrolets. And in another first for Chevrolet Europe, only cars sold in right hand drive markets will carry the trim badge on the exterior.

Whatever model customers opt for they are guaranteed a high level of equipment with standard items even on the entry level LS including electronic stability control, six airbags, and power mirrors.

The mid-range LT version also features such items as parking sensors and steering wheel mounted audio controls, while the LTZ gets larger 17-inch alloy wheels, auto dipping rear view mirror and electronic cruise control as examples.

Being based off Chevrolet's successful and award winning Cruze sedan, already proven to offer excellent ride and handling, Orlando drivers are assured of a safe, yet involving and rewarding drive. The Chevrolet Orlando's well proven set up utilizes McPherson struts for the front suspension and compound crank axle for the rear.

Emulating the successful Chevrolet Cruze, the Orlando's chassis has been tuned to provide the ideal compromise between ride comfort and agility. McPherson struts used for the front suspension use hydraulic bushings which are often found in more expensive vehicles, and provide increased ride isolation for passengers and controlled absorption of variable road surfaces.

The advanced compound crank (torsion beam) system at the rear is used as it offers the perfect compromise between suspension control combined with savings in weight and space. A torsion beam system can also be easily tuned to accommodate the different vehicle and engine weights.

Chevrolet Orlando's chassis and body structure have also been engineered with high reserves of safety as a key consideration. Sixteen-inch ventilated front disc brakes are fitted across the range, with sixteen-inch solid discs at the rear and with electronic ABS acting on all wheels. All chassis also benefit from electronic brake force distribution, a system which governs the amount of braking at each wheel to ensure the shortest stopping distances, traction control to keep in check unintended driver exuberance and for when road conditions are wet or slippery, electronic stability control and hydraulic brake assist.

Full production of the Chevrolet Orlando started in October at General Motor's South Korea manufacturing facilities and the car is scheduled to go on sale across Europe in early 2011.


A cursory glance at the new Chevrolet Orlando will immediately tell you that this is an MPV which is looking to break the traditional family van mould, to make its own design statement and, arguably, set the pace for future design to follow.

The accepted imperatives of family vans in the past, whether it has been the requirement to carry seven passengers, large cargo loads or incorporate various seating arrangements, has more often than not resulted in one dimensional box-type designs. With the Orlando, Chevrolet set out to change all that and to bring something fresh and innovative to the market. However, in doing so, Chevrolet's design team wanted to make their first European MPV immediately recognizable as one of the new generation of Chevrolets, while also not compromising on its interior practicality and user friendliness.

"The inspiration for the Chevrolet Orlando came from seeing the more traditional designs of so many of the MPVs in Europe", says Taewan Kim, vice president of design, GMDAT. "Many of these are one-box designs which look very functional. Orlando is a two-box design, part MPV part SUV, which transcends existing categories and adopts a distinctive crossover silhouette.

"We think there is a large, untapped market in Europe for customers who need such a family vehicle but are looking for something different and more modern. I am confident Chevrolet could lead the way for this type of crossover design."

At the front of the vehicle, the design team has created a face for Orlando, which is bold and unmistakably new Chevrolet, with a dual-port grille split with the body color divide and a large Chevrolet bow-tie positioned proudly in the center. "Chevrolet Orlando's front fascia is a key feature and it evolves Chevrolet's global identity and gives the car showroom appeal," says Taewan Kim.

A sculptured hood with center crease line flows into the front fenders which themselves are sculptured with aggressively flared wheel arches, to emphasize Chevrolet's 'body-in, wheels-out' design philosophy. The Orlando features lower body cladding including a deep front splitter below the bumper section, which houses the front fog lamps; this adds to the vehicles durability but also enhances its SUV style. Taken as a whole, the Orlando has a confident and purposeful stance when viewed from the front and front three-quarter.

Chevrolet Orlando's headlamp with its piano black surrounding bezel and chrome parabola and the linear turn signal under the head-lamp, gives it a premium appearance.

Handsome in profile

The side profile is characterized by a gently rising shoulder line which starts at the top of the front wheel arch and runs the length of the vehicle into the rear light cluster. It combines with the sweeping roof-line which tapers towards the rear to provide Orlando's distinctive silhouette and contributes to its sporty stance on the road. Functional, uninterrupted side glass means maximum visibility for occupants in whichever row they are seated.

At the rear, the Orlando has a number of features that showcase Chevrolet's recent design, including the rear tail lamps which are evolutions from split function lamps. The center mounted fog lamp, which sits in the rear bumper section, is unique to Chevrolet Orlando.

When viewed square on from the rear, designers refer to the Orlando body as its 'maximum square motif' - in other words, designed to give an appearance of solidity and SUV robustness.

Inside the muscular wheel arches will sit either 16, 17 or 18-inch wheels, dependent on trim level and options chosen. The entry level wheel is a 16-inch steel wheel with an attractive six-spoke hub cap, easily mistaken for an alloy from all but the closest distance. All other variants are fitted with alloy wheels as standard of either 16 or 17-inch rim diameter and fitted with 215/60R (16 inch) or 225/50R profile tires. The top of the range LTZ model can be ordered with the optional 18-inch 5-spoke alloy, fitted with 235/45R Bridgestone Potenza tires.

One of the objectives for the final execution of Chevrolet Orlando was for driver and passengers to enjoy sedan levels of comfort, combined with crossover style and the versatility of an MPV. Consequently, the driver environment is sedan like in its look and feel, and features some of the design cues used on Cruze.

A number of characteristics are instantly recognizable when you climb inside, such as Chevrolet's 'waterfall' shaped center console and the dual-cockpit cabin which is emphasized by the double butterfly wing panel that runs door to door under the instrument cluster, through the center console and along the width of the front passenger cabin. This wraparound style, where the instrument panel flows into the door trims, is now an established component of Chevrolet's interior design language.

The dials are recessed and with overhead cowls they have a strong, sporty appearance while the IP integrated gearshift has been harmonized with the look of the center stack and console. The Orlando is the latest Chevrolet to use the V-shaped motif inside the steering wheel, which is on all but the base level trim models, features audio and infotainment controls.

One of the wow factors of the cabin is the ambient blue back-lighting to the centre console which comes with the higher trim versions, as Taewan Kim explains. "This style of lighting gives the cabin a high tech and sophisticated feel - something that was central to the design team's aims - but without losing any of the emotion associated with the exterior crossover design.

"We are also excited by some of the interior color combinations that will be available. We think they will appeal to Orlando's primary audiences, young families, will really like."

There are a number of differences in the colors and finishes used on parts of the interior to differentiate the trim level. Entry-level LS models are finished with a silver instrument panel mid-wing and door console, black audio and center console and flat woven cloth for the seats; move up to the LT and the cabin gets a gloss (or piano) black finish for the instrument panel wing, a leather covered steering wheel (with audio controls), and mesh type cloth for the seats; the top of the line LTZ models also feature a special silver door console and more piano black finish around the audio and HVAC controls, a larger infotainment screen and the option of leather upholstery.

Seven exterior colors are available from launch: Olympic White, Switchblade Silver, Carbon Flash (Black), Daydream Beige, Pewter Grey, Velvet Red and Smoky Grey.

Interior Flexibility

'Function with Attitude' is the new Chevrolet Orlando's descriptive catch phrase, and it's no coincidence that the word 'function' comes first. Without question the Orlando brings a fresh approach to the look of MPVs and a swagger to the segment with its extrovert exterior design. But it's much more than skin deep; Chevrolet is confident it has created a true family car for today where design has not compromised functionality and user friendliness, as demonstrated by its 7-seater practicality, interior flexibility and generous storage and load spaces.

Chevrolet Orlando drivers will appreciate the well thought out ergonomics. So while the Corvette-inspired dual cockpit has plenty of features which are pleasing to the eye - the ambient blue backlighting to the centre console for example - it has also been designed so that all the major controls and switches fall easily to hand, maximizing safety and driver convenience.

One of the key considerations for passenger comfort is the seating arrangement, which is unique in the compact MPV segment. The Orlando has the versatility associated with 7 seats and various configurations can be achieved to meet the occupants' needs. In fact the body structure of the Orlando has been designed to enable the fitting of 'theater-style' seating where rows two and three are progressively elevated, but without compromising occupant headroom or access in and out of the seats.

The middle section of Chevrolet Orlando's floorpan is fitted with a high strength sub frame to which the second seating bench is fitted and which elevates it by over 4cm (41mm) mm above the seating line of the driver and passenger. Moving back towards the rear, the floorpan itself rises at the C-pillar section (and between rows 2 and 3) before leveling to accommodate the third row and rear cargo space. A further reinforced sub-frame is fitted inside the floorpan to house the two-seater third bench, giving it an elevated position over the second row.

In addition to allowing better visibility all-round for passengers, the theater seating enables easier access, in particular for parents when fitting child seats and young children into the second row as it minimizes any awkward bending or reaching.

There may be frequent occasions when Orlando owners do not need all seven of its seats and a number of alternative seating configurations can be quickly and easily arranged.

Perhaps the most common will be to fold the third row to accommodate up to 5 passengers and increase the cargo volume area to 458 liters. By folding flat both the second and third rows the cargo area is increased so that it is one of the most voluminous in the compact MPV class at 856 liters. And from 2013, the front passenger seat will benefit from similar functionality so that it too can be folded to create a 'table' area for the driver. Even with the third row of seats in place, the Orlando maintains a useful 89 liters of available space.

Both the left and right hand outer seats of the second row have a tumble-fold facility - effectively folded twice so that the seat back and seat cushion as one unit butts up against the back of the driver's or passenger seats - for easy access into and out of the third row.

Once all the Chevrolet Orlando occupants are safely in their seats, they benefit from interior leg and head space which is highly competitive against other vehicles in the sector. Leg room for the front passenger and driver is generous at 1034mm while for second row passengers leg room of 917mm puts Orlando among the most spacious in class. Headroom at the front is 1020mm and for the second row, 983mm, while passengers in the third row will enjoy 945mm of headspace, one of the best in its class even with Orlando's sweeping exterior roofline.

An interior with lots in store

A hard working family car needs plenty of storage space for all the bits and pieces that collect inside. Like the original concept car, the final production version of the Orlando obliges with a range of compartments of different shapes, sizes and locations to cater for common family needs.

Chevrolet Orlando owners will be pleasantly surprised by a 'secret' compartment behind the front fascia of the audio and within easy reach of the both the driver and passenger. This ingenious feature, which has remained true to the original concept car, is revealed by easily flipping up the face of the audio. It is large enough for such items as an MP3 player, sunglasses and wallets.

Within the space itself there is also a standard auxiliary jack and optional USB port for MP3 or iPod connectivity, depending on the trim level.

Perhaps not every piece of storage can be quite as ingenious, but it's all equally useful. At the front to save the driver and front passenger from fishing around in pockets or door bins for loose change, there is a slotted coin box built into the foot of the center console. The console also features two large cup holders and a compartment between the seat belt buckles which features a retractable sliding cover.

Door bins in the front are large enough to take a water bottle and a number of maps while the rear doors also have integrated bottle holders. Orlando's spacious load area has additional compartments, one revealed by flipping a lid built into the floor of the load bay where it meets the rear bumper sill, and two further triangular compartments behind either wheel arch.

Finally, keeping an eye on what's going on in the second or third row of seats isn't easy if you're the driver or front passenger. But now, thanks to Orlando's rear conversation mirror, you really can have eyes in the back of your head. The special rear seat view mirror, which is fitted into the headlining and sits just above the normal rear view mirror, enables parents to keep check on proceedings behind without taking their eyes off the road.

Ride and handling

Using the highly acclaimed Chevrolet Cruze sedan as its base, the new Chevrolet Orlando has been given an excellent start in life when it comes to ride and handling. The Cruze was the first of several new Chevrolet models using the company's latest chassis developments, resulting in taut, responsive steering and body control but with a compliant ride, well suited to European tastes. Consequently, the car has real driver appeal.

Who says the drivers and occupants of a family MPV/van shouldn't enjoy the same dynamic benefits? Of course, the expectation of a new family car is also that of the highest safety standard; so with the Orlando, the requirement was to achieve the same dynamic qualities while sacrificing nothing in terms of active safety.

At the heart of the Orlando's accomplished handling is a body frame integral (BFI) structure that is among the stiffest in the compact van segment. A stiff body structure like that of the Chevrolet Orlando is the foundation for a sense of solidity and stability when on the road.

With the BFI structure, the upper body and chassis frame are engineered as a single component, enabling much greater torsional stiffness. An isolated engine cradle is used to mount the engine and this too contributes to the Orlando's refinement and insulation from noise and vibration into the cabin.

Orlando's footprint is broad with a wide track (1584mm front, 1588mm rear) which, in proportion to the wheelbase (2760mm), results in inherently stable and predictable handling on the road.

While the suspension set-up for Chevrolet Orlando is essentially conventional, it features some clever detailing to the enhance ride and handling. At the front, McPherson struts are used with side load compensation which reduces the sliding friction caused by bending loads under compression. Side load compensation also allows the front wheels to be moved further outwards, improving looks and stability.

The front struts use uniquely shaped suspension springs for better absorption of road shocks, while hydraulic ride bushings in the front control arms - a feature normally only found in higher end vehicles - results in further refinement and insulation from road irregularities.

The control arms themselves are manufactured from lightweight aluminum to further reduce weight and aid quicker, more agile handling.

For the rear suspension, an advanced compound crank (torsion beam) system has been designed with a double-walled, U-shaped profile. The system offers a good balance of suspension control, combined with significant savings in weight and space.

One of the major differences between Orlando's compound-crank arrangement and other torsion-beam designs is a patented 'magnetic-arc' welding process, used to attach the beam to the trailing links. This technology enables the thickness of the torsion beam to be varied and different attachment angles between the beam and the trailing links. These variables allow the adjustment of roll-rate and roll-steer characteristics according to different engines and vehicle weights. Intensive development of the beam's twisting characteristics has also led to an increased rear wheel steer effect, further improving the responsiveness of the chassis.

Orlando's space-saving layout of the rear axle contributes to a lower center of gravity. This improves handling and means the 64-liter fuel tank can be fitted nice and low between the wheels.

The rack-and-pinion steering is hydraulically power-assisted (electric power assistance for the 1.8-liter petrol) and has been tuned for responsiveness, with good on-center feel and driver feedback. The steering has been designed to be fast-acting, with less than three turns of the wheel required lock-to-lock; the turning circle is a relatively tight 11.3 meters.

The steering column can be adjusted for both reach and rake, with a rake angle of plus or minus 2.4 degrees.

Chevrolet Orlando's chassis and braking system have also been engineered with high reserves of safety as a key consideration. Disc brakes are fitted all round - 300mm ventilated discs at the front and solid 292mm discs at the rear, mated to single piston calipers.

The system is fitted with an asbestos free organic brake lining which improves the lining wear rate, reduces brake noise and enhances pedal feel for the driver. The rear hand brake (or parking brake) is cable driven.

Anti-lock braking (ABS) on the Orlando is a four wheel system that uses input from wheel speed sensors to regulate individual braking at each wheel to reduce stopping distances to a minimum, while maintaining stability and steering control under heavy braking. The Orlando's stopping power under emergency braking is further enhanced with hydraulic brake assist (HBA).

Front to rear braking effort, or distribution is controlled by an integral part of the ABS function, Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD); it uses independent rear control to improve stability and braking when cornering and ensures effective use of the rear brakes under heavy loads.

Traction Control System (TCS) is fitted as standard to keep in check unintended driver exuberance and for when road conditions are wet or slippery. It uses both brake and engine torque interventions to enhance grip during take-off and acceleration in all road conditions. The ABS electronic control unit detects impending wheel slip and signals the engine ECU to adjust engine torque output accordingly; the system senses when the wheels are spinning faster than the vehicle speed and momentarily applies either of the front brakes.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC), together with TCS, uses both the ABS and TCS functions to provide another level of active safety as part of the standard Chevrolet Orlando chassis. It provides more precise, controlled anti-lock braking performance to counter-act any misjudgments by the driver. ESC uses data from a yaw sensor, lateral accelerometer and steering angle sensor to help ensure the vehicle follows the direction of the front wheels. Individual brakes may be applied selectively to control any oversteer and understeer during any extreme maneuvers.

Three sizes of wheel are available, depending on the model and options chosen, ranging from 16 to 18-inch. Standard tire and rim sizes for the 16-inch wheel are 215/60R x 16 and for the 17-inch wheel, 225/50R X 17. A larger 18-inch wheel is available as an option on LTZ models with sizes at 235/45R x 18.


With young families a primary audience for the new Orlando, safety is sure to be high on the list of any prospective owner, a priority both for the driver and occupants. Safety manifests itself in a number of ways in a new vehicle: through individual passive and active features but also in the materials and processes used in the vehicle's construction.

Chevrolet has gone to considerable lengths to ensure that the new Orlando meets all the criteria to be one of the safest compact MPVs on the market.

Starting with Chevrolet Orlando's body shell, the body frame integral (BFI) structure whereby the upper body and chassis frame are engineered as a single component ensures high levels of stiffness. This torsional rigidity of the body-chassis interface will not just put a smile on any driver's face through great handling; the upper body shell of the Orlando is also exceptionally strong, with over 70% of the body frame constructed from high strength steel.

Chevrolet Orlando's passenger compartment is reinforced all round, including the A and B-pillars, the cross sections that support the roof and along the lower sill sections. Occupants in effect sit inside a safety cage constructed to minimize intrusion in the case of frontal, side or rear impact, while front and rear crumple zones are designed to absorb and dissipate energy to minimize impact to the passenger compartment.

High-strength steels and aluminum are used in all the key areas in the car's construction. With the frontal area of any vehicle particularly vulnerable, Orlando is fitted with a strong yet light aluminum crash-box for the front bumper cross-member which sits in front of the engine cradle, with high-strength steel used for longitudinal rails and the front sub-frame. Energy is absorbed by these sections and distributed evenly along load paths, including a dual load path on the vehicle's underbody, which channels energy away from the passenger compartment.

The cradle used to house the engine and which sits inside the front sub frame also has high energy absorption properties where structural foam helps dissipate impacts.

Special attention has also been paid to the side structure of the body so that the B-pillar section and where it joins the lower sill section and seat cross member on the floorpan is especially strong, and designed to distribute loads safely around the body frame.

At the rear of the vehicle, a further reinforced sub frame is used on the underbody which protects the fuel tank and its connections from penetration in the case of a rear impact. The fuel tank itself is capable of withstanding minor compressions without rupturing.

Comforting levels of cabin safety

Orlando's extensive list of standard equipment includes a comprehensive array of passive safety features inside the vehicle.

All cars are fitted with six airbags- twin front, side and curtain (or roof-rail) airbags. The side airbags are fitted to the outer sides of the driver and passenger seats and will provide protection coverage of the pelvis and thorax areas on a side impact.

The curtain airbag system is tethered above the A and C-pillars; it has a 28-liter capacity when fully inflated and if activated provides head protection for occupants in the first and second rows. A number of measures have also been taken with the front airbags to minimize airbag induced injury, including how they are packaged and folded and an optimal, single level inflation rate. The front passenger airbag can also be switched off for when a child-seat is being used.

The Chevrolet Orlando's front-row seatbelts are fitted with force limiters and pretensioners as well as height adjustment. The latter provides more comfort and ensures the belt is always fitted correctly across the body. All seven seats of the Orlando are fitted with head restraints to help prevent whiplash in the case of a rear shunt.

A Pedal Release System, or collapsible pedal assembly, is a further clever feature and protects the driver's feet and lower legs in a frontal impact by collapsing away from the driver's foot well.

ISOFX fitments are provided for child seats. Two steel anchors between the rear seat back and seat cushion, and a further top tether which is fitted to seat back means child seats can be installed very securely.

One of the biggest challenges often faced by emergency services when assisting at the scene of an incident is helping the occupants of a vehicle when the doors are locked. However, this is not a scenario that Orlando owners will be faced with; Orlando is fitted with crash sensor technology, which ensures the doors will unlock automatically on detection of an impact.

In addition to those features found inside the cabin, a raft of latest technologies is used in Chevrolet Orlando's 'active' safety systems - those that work under the skin as part of the vehicles chassis and contribute in a significant way to the vehicle's safety credentials.

Anti-lock braking (ABS), traction control (TCS), electronic brake force distribution (EBD), hydraulic brake assist (HBA) and electronic stability control (ESC) are standard on all cars in the range and work in tandem to give Orlando's chassis high reserves of safety. For full details on how the systems work see the chapter on Ride and Handling.


Chevrolet's latest powertrain offerings show the speed at which the company is developing and refining its engines. A number of new and significant engine developments are being introduced on both the 2011 model year Cruze and the Orlando.

At launch, Chevrolet Orlando customers will have a choice of three engines, one gasoline and two diesels. Each offers the latest in performance potential and fuel efficiency. All engines are transversely mounted 4-cylinder units with common features including double overhead camshafts, 16 valves and either multi-point fuel injection, or in the case of the diesels, common-rail technology.

All the engines are constructed with a cast-iron cylinder block and alloy head, where further weight savings have been achieved.

The single gasoline engine is a responsive, fuel-injected 1796cc unit which features variable valve timing for increased power output and torque over a wider engine speed range. Variable valve timing reduces emissions due to greater exhaust gas recirculation, and improves fuel consumption.

The 1.8 liter produces an impressive 141 hp at 6200rpm and strong pulling power with 176Nm of torque at 3800 rpm, 85% of which is available from 2000 rpm. Specific engine power per liter is 78.3. This normally aspirated 1.8 liter is also fuel efficient with consumption on a combined cycle at 7.3 liter/100km and emissions of 172g/km. It qualifies for Euro 5 emissions class.

Orlando's maximum speed with the gasoline engine is 185kph with a 0 to 100kph time of 11.6 seconds when coupled with the standard 5-speed manual transmission.

Pulling power

The diesels are expected to be a popular choice among Orlando owners, and these engines benefit from a number of technical enhancements which are introduced on Chevrolet's new entry. Both engines are of the same 1998cc displacement and share the same technology, but two power outputs are available.

The heart of each is a 16-valve, four-cylinder 2.0-liter engine with cast-iron block and aluminum head, which features a double overhead cam (DOHC). Chevrolet Orlando's advanced common rail injection system; peak firing pressure within the combustion chamber is 180 bar pressure resulting in improved fuel economy and lower emissions.

Chevrolet's refinements to the intake system include a 'variable swirl' intake manifold that improves performance characteristics for both versions of diesel engines.

In the case of the higher output version, peak power is 163 hp at 3800rpm while maximum torque is 360Nm at 2000rpm. For the standard output engine, both engine power and torque are 130 hp at 3800rpm and 315Nm at 2000rpm.

Mated to the standard 6-speed manual gearbox, performance figures for the Orlando with either version of the diesel engines are impressive. The 130 hp version has a top speed of 180kph and reaches 100kph from a standstill in 10.3 seconds. The 163 hp engine has a maximum speed of 195kph and reaches 100kph in 10.0 seconds.

In-gear times for the 163 hp engine are 12.2 seconds for acceleration between 40 and 100kph (4th gear) and 11.0 seconds for acceleration between 80 and 120kph (5th gear). Times for the 130 hp version are 12.7 seconds for in-gear acceleration from 40 to 100kph (4th gear) and 11.4 seconds between 80 and 120kph (5th gear).

Fuel economy and emissions figures are common to both engines at 6.0 liters/100km on a combined cycle with emissions of 159 g/km, making the engines Euro 5 compliant.

Joy of six

The 1.8-liter gasoline engine is fitted with a 5-speed manual transmission while both of the diesel engines have a six-speed box. However, the 163 hp high power version of the diesel is also available with Chevrolet's six-speed automatic transmission.

This auto transmission features sophisticated electronics and adaptive shifting control as well as widely spaced ratios with a short first gear to ensure efficient take-off from standstill and long top gear for maximum fuel economy on the open road.

The Orlando diesel auto demonstrates some great mid-range thrust, as the official performance figures confirm: the in-gear acceleration figures for 40 to 100ph are just 9.0 seconds while the time for 80 to 120kph is 8.4 seconds; 0 to 100kph is 11.0 seconds.

As is to be expected from an automatic transmission, fuel economy and emissions are marginally increased over the manual at 7.0 liters/100km and 186 g/km.

Chevrolet Orlando customers will have a choice of engine and trim combinations. So, for example, the 1.8 gasoline will be available with all trims; the 2.0 130 hp diesel will be available on LS and LT trims; the higher-powered 163 hp version, with either manual or automatic transmission, can be ordered with LT and LTZ trim options.

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