The new third generation Chevrolet Utility enters the market with an infusion of Chevrolet DNA clearly apparent. The frontal view incorporates a bold face typical of all current generation Chevrolets defined by a strong dual-port grille design with the traditional “bow-tie” emblem placed on the separator bar between the two ports. This unmistakeably defines this new sub-1 ton pick-up as pure Chevrolet.
From the side the lines of the Chevrolet Utility conveys a sense of motion from front to rear with the vehicle outline defined by a series of crisp styling lines flowing out from the strong body colour bumper and around the smart elliptical shaped headlights. The headlights bring their own element of style to this attractive small pick-up, sweeping back as they do from the top edge of the body colour bumper through to centre of the front fenders.
The up-to-the-minute chrome bezel styling treatment with polycarbonate lenses for the lamps brings a fresh, fun, styling approach to the segment. Fog lights mounted in the lower outer corners of the front bumper on Club and Sport models accent the fresh appearance of these two higher specification models.
The rear of the vehicle is defined by the modern rear light clusters, once again with polycarbonate lenses used to great effect against a backdrop of chrome bezels for these fittings.
Numerous styling clinics held during the design phase of this all-new small Chevrolet pick-up accented the need for improved rear vision, in particular the dead zone directly masked by the tailgate. In response the styling team came up with a solution incorporating a marginally lower tailgate height that has no impact on loadability but vastly improves rearward visibility. A higher seating position plays an important role here as well, providing a more ‘in-command” seating posture for the driver and passenger. Contoured rear fenders play a role as well in assisting the driver to visually position the vehicle exactly where required whilst reversing or manoeuvring in confined spaces.
Functional elements of the exterior design include the large side step that assists in providing access to the load box over the side, and cargo hooks to secure smaller loads.
On the sport models the exterior styling is differentiated at the front by dark masking for the headlamps and the addition of front fog lamps. A polished aluminium roof mounted spoiler adds style together with the functionality of grab handles to support access to the load box over the side. Door mouldings, a decorative side step moulding and lower rocker panel side sills complete the picture from the side.
The emergence of this latest generation small pick-up from General Motors as a true Chevrolet, designed by global representatives of the company based in Brazil in collaboration with South Africa, has resulted in a fresh approach to the vehicle that addresses a number of issues with the previous model dictated by its European model base. This latest generation model is 78mm longer, 54mm wider and 127mm higher. The wheelbase is shorter by 45mm and the front track narrower by 41mm. The rear track remains virtually unchanged.
From a point of view of functionality, the ground clearance is increased by 17mm to 170mm. The load area depth in decreased by 13mm, to provide better all round visibility while the length of the load area is reduced by just 2mm to 1680mm. The width of the load area is however increased by 25mm to 1340mm. On balance the load box volume varies by just 0,6%.
The interior of the Chevrolet Utility features up-to-the-minute styling trends. The dashboard styling imparts a feel of spaciousness and features well placed controls within easy reach of the driver for excellent ergonomics. Air vents, door handles, door side panels, all have a fresh edgy look to them while digital ventilation controls set a new standard in the segment. Even the gear lever is the subject of a complete rework with a comfortable grip and nifty slide-switch reverse interlock.
A feature of the new Chevrolet Utility is the higher seating position for driver and passenger that provides for better all round visibility and a better feeling of being in command of the vehicle, more in keeping with its utility application. The driver’s seat is height adjustable as is the steering column.
The shape of the seats has been refined to provide a higher level of comfort and features an innovative cushion shape. Seat coverings make use of embossed seat cover technology for an attractive look and feel. The use of this type of seat cover is a first in this segment of the market and is more often associated with trendy passenger vehicle interiors.
Storage space behind the seats is a voluminous 164 litres. In addition there is a range of ten additional storage spaces for oddments of various sizes ranging from coins to quite large size items. Amongst these there is a space suitable for a mobile phone next to the headlight switch, a small compartment below this switch as well as well as a storage tray on the top of the dashboard in the centre. On the Sport model this tray is fitted with a spring loaded lid. The B pillar storage compartment offers a concealed space for more valuable items. The large storage trays in the door panels are provided with separators to allow them to be tailored for specific storage requirements. Two cup holders are provided in front of the gear lever.
The instrument cluster is reminiscent of a Formula 1 car steering wheel with analogue readouts for speed on the left side and tachometer and fuel gauge on the right. In the centre is a range of digital readouts for the odometer and trip meter as well as an array of warning lights. On Sport models the on-board computer display appears in this area. Illumination is by ice blue backlighting. All needles and gauges perform a full sweep calibration check when the ignition is switched on.
On Club and Sport models a radio/CD combination is provided. Features of this system include RDS, MP3, USB port, auxiliary input and Bluetooth.
Stylish on the exterior, with that style extending to benchmark interior treatments and features, the new third generation Chevrolet Utility will set heads turning as it enters the market.