When you think of “family car,” what comes to mind? A top-of-the-line Mercedes S-Class in black? Yes, if you’re from the mafia. But if you’re like most of us, the “family car,”—the one you take to mass, or to the grocery—is most likely a whole lot less, well, menacing.
Are we saying that family cars are meant to be staid and unexciting? Some tend to believe so. After all, family cars supposedly should only provide a spacious cabin for a growing family to wiggle around in, generous luggage space for out-of-town trips, and, lest we forget, effective child lock mechanism. Looks take a backseat to practicality.
Yet when we came across the Chevrolet Orlando, our notions changed. The Orlando, a seven-seater multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), makes a lasting impression. This is a car that has learned how to dress for the occasion, as if it followed every “How To Be A Man” article that FHM runs every now and then. A modern man’s family car, it might even cause a few single girls to look its way only to turn around in giggly shame after a glare from the wife who’s riding shotgun.
The low roofline, sleek window profile, and burly, sculpted exterior give the Orlando its bold profile on the road. The 16-inch alloy wheels, the gleaming bow-tie badge on the car’s split radiator grille, and the cool, composed nature of the headlamps announce that “I may not be a sports car, or another one of those SUVs, but I’ve got just as much swabe to offer, thank you very much.”
Cars this big could sometimes be cumbersome to drive, but the Orlando is one smooth customer. Its 6-speed automatic transmission provides a very refined drive, which should lessen the times that grandma in the back complains about how you’re making her dizzy. She wouldn’t even notice that you’re already cruising at 120 kph (cruise control comes standard), given the car’s notable ride stability and minimal cabin noise levels. Powering it is a 1.8-liter gas engine that produces 141 horsepower and 176 Nm, which is pretty much a sweet spot for efficient city driving and for covering long distances during an outing.
Just how versatile is this car, really? Not only is it great for hauling your family around, it's also fresh enough that your teenager kid will want to sneak it out for a roadtrip with the barkada. If you don't even have a teenage kid, or any kid or wife for that matter, the Orlando will still score points for the dude who wants the girls to think that he's already deeply concerned with what his future family will be riding in in the future.
The car’s fancy-looking cockpit makes you feel in control. It is very snug inside, and the central armrest on really adds comfort to the driving. Sometimes, it even feels as if you’re on a space shuttle with the gauges on the dashboard sporting a soft blue glow, and lots of features and buttons to press.
Also: The side mirrors fold automatically; the lamps light up by themselves at dark; and when the rain drops, the wipers start swinging automatically. The cover of multimedia panel in the center (yes, it's iPod ready) even slides open to reveal a hidden compartment. How's that for fancy? Now, we don't know if it's simply because we haven't been driving new cars lately, but we came away very much impressed with how much the Orlando makes driving so much easier for you. It's as though Chevy knew that dads already have their hands full dealing with impatient kids.
The 1.8-liter Chevrolet Orlando with 6-speed automatic transmission is now available for P1,238,000.
WORDS BY GELO GONZALES