|Photos by Ulysses Ang|
Developed specifically for emerging markets, the first thing you notice with the Spin is how compact it is. With a wheelbase of just 2,620 mm and an overall length of just 4,260 mm, it’s no longer than a typical compact sedan. But this is where Chevrolet designers start to get crafty. By reducing the overhangs and adopting a formal squared-off roofline with a large greenhouse, the Spin looks like a 90th percentile MPV. More than just being practical, the Spin is also stylish and modern-looking. The front-end is cute with its large, expressive headlamps and the smiling dual-port grille. The front bumpers also visually cut an aerodynamic profile. At the side, the Spin doesn’t rely on any sort of door molding; instead it has a strong crease on the doors sandwiched by two wheel flares that extend onto the doors. The Spin’s rearview is more functional, but the central cutout for the door handle and the mudguard “lip” on the bumper add a dose of style.
The tall roofline and large windows already give a great feeling of space, but Chevrolet designers went a step further and used light toned plastics and fabrics to give the airiest cabin experience possible. Going with a two-toned hue, the Spin has a welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere. The plastics are hard to the touch, but they’re well-textured and solidly put together. The seats feel rich and opulent, though they seem to attract dark-colored lint, so regular vacuuming is a must. The dashboard design itself maximizes available space by making it as flat and canting upward as much as possible. Yet, there’s a wealth of storage and cubby holes (22 in total) including one of the largest door pockets you’ll ever see in a car.
In terms of interior space, all three rows of the Spin is certified Average Filipino friendly (average being 160 cm or so in height). The front and second row seats offer nice support making this a great car to drive or to be driven in. The driver has the added comfort of a 4-way adjustable seat and a tilt-adjustable steering wheel. The three-spoke steering wheel itself is nice to grip. Those in the third row will have to be content with a slightly knees-up position but the adjustable headrests and recline helps make trips more comfortable. With all three rows up there’s barely enough space to even fit a duffel bag, but fold and flip the third row bench forward (it locks into place via a crude cord tied to the second row headrest), the luggage space grows to fit airport luggage. To fit longer items such as stand fans and golf bags, the Spin’s second row folds flat in a 60/40 split-fold.
Getting into the Spin’s driver’s seat, you’re welcomed by Chevrolet’s familiar motorcycle-inspired gauge cluster. The large digital speedometer and large analog tachometer (that swings up on ignition) add a sporty style without compromising on legibility. The Spin’s instrument panel is surprisingly full-featured with a multi-function trip computer and even adjustable dimmer control. The rest of the driving controls are well-placed with the shifter, hand brake, stalks, and knob-type light control all within easy reach. The only two exceptions are the knobs for the air conditioning which require an extra reach to adjust and the asymmetrical design of the radio face which requires a good look-see to operate.
Though the availability of a small 1.3-liter turbo diesel is the main reason why the Spin grabbed headlines, the 1.5-liter gasoline engine is a sensible choice too, especially if you can’t or won’t drive stick. With 109 horsepower and 141 Nm of torque, the Spin’s S-TEC III (though Chevrolet Philippines claims it’s an ECOTEC engine) is quiet and refined given this vehicle’s class. It idles unobtrusively and even lets out a motorcycle-like note as the revs climb up. Floor the throttle though, and the Spin’s cabin vibrates in unison with the engine creating an uncomfortable gurgling sound at around 2,000 rpm. The Spin’s clearly made more for city driving instead of highway driving as the 6-speed automatic shifts up at the soonest possible time. As the speeds climb past 80 km/h, the Spin’s already past 2,000 rpm on 6th gear and as a result it struggles to reach triple digit speeds. Also, fuel economy’s isn’t really mind-blowing, resulting in just 8.4 km/L in the city.
Based off the platform that also underpins the Chevrolet Sonic, the Spin is remarkably refined. In fact, it drives pretty much like a wagon as opposed to a cumbersome AUV. It exhibits excellent straight line stability and remains quiet even at high speed cruising. At lower speeds, it’s very compliant around Manila. It also feels very nimble not only because of its small exterior dimensions but also because of its excellent all-around visibility. Even without the aid of parking sensors, the Spin is easily slotted into the tiniest of parking space. On the flipside, the steering is somewhat heavy and the Spin does have a strong urge to understeer through corners. The body roll is also very noticeable because of the softy-sprung suspension.
Priced at P 838,888, the Chevrolet Spin is actually very good value for money. Not only does it deliver car-like levels of driving and refinement, it comes fully loaded with pretty much everything a modern Filipino family could wish for. Standard on the Spin 1.5 LTZ are features such as variable intermittent wipers, a multi-function trip computer, front and rear fog lamps, dual air conditioning, a CD/MP3 audio system with USB and Bluetooth hands-free capabilities, dual SRS airbags, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution. The only glaring thing missing are front height adjustable seatbelts.
The Chevrolet Spin, especially in its 1.5 LTZ guise lifts the AUV segment from merely being considered as the mere alternative when it comes to buying a family MPV. It’s definitely priced and featured to sell, but above all, the Chevrolet Spin shows that style and sophistication need not be expensive.
2014 Chevrolet Spin 1.5 LTZ
|Vehicle Classification||Entry-Level MPV|
|Body Type||5-door Multi-Purpose Vehicle|
|Engine / Drive||F/F|
|Under the Hood|
|Layout / # of Cylinders||I4|
|BHP @ rpm||109 @ 6,000|
|Nm @ rpm||141 @ 4,000|
|Fuel / Min. Octane||Gasoline|
|Dimensions and Weights|
|Curb Weight (kg)||N/A|
|Suspension and Tires|
|Front Suspension||Independent, MacPherson Strut|
|Rear Suspension||Semi-Independent Trailing Arm|
|Front Brakes||Vented Disc|
|Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)||Yes|
|Traction / Stability Control||No|
|Fog Lamps||Yes, Front and Rear|
|Steering Wheel Adjustment||Tilt|
|Steering Wheel Material||Urethane|
|Folding Rear Seat||Yes, 60/40 (2nd), Bench (3rd)|
|Power Door Locks||Yes|
|No. of Speakers||6|
|Steering Wheel Controls||No|