A lot of us like fun things. A lot of us like fun cars, too. That said, it’s amazing how many vehicle manufacturers seem unaware of this. The arrival of the Chevrolet Groove in the Middle East, though, is an indicator that this particular company might have seen the light.
This newbie is a small SUV (or subcompact, as those in the know like to refer to them) with a reasonable engine that seems to want whoever is driving it to experience one emotion: amusement. And that isn’t an insult.
Chevrolet is clear on who it hopes will buy the Groove, with the marketing people talking about offering younger drivers “an affordable SUV with no compromise on technology, design or performance”.
The car was first unveiled at the New York International Auto Show way back in 2007, as a concept. But that particular vehicle and the latest version have little in common.
For 2022, the Groove comes in two trim lines, the LT and Premier, and you won’t need to be Einstein to work out which is the superior version.
At first glance, the prominent, three-line grille (adorned with what is known as the Chevrolet bowtie) gives the vehicle a distinctly sporty look. This is further emphasised by the black side mirrors and roof rails that come as standard.
These days, design similarities among cars produced by the same manufacturer are sometimes referred to as corporate styling templates and, to this end, the front of the Groove fits right in with its Chevrolet siblings. This is no bad thing, and many would agree it trumps a few of its competitors in the prettiness regard.
The Groove is a little underpowered for a car of its size, and you can’t help thinking a turbocharger would have been a welcome addition for those times when you need a little extra oomph. The performance shouldn’t be a problem if you’re happy cruising, but it won’t serve you well if going full throttle at a track is your thing.
However, when you get behind the wheel, the car pleasingly shows itself to be nimble enough around city roads. The soundproofing is impressive in a vehicle without the monster-truck proportions of all those bigger SUVs tearing up and down the motorways, so you don’t feel any sense of panic as you nip around the aforementioned bulkier vehicles. A word you might use to describe it is nifty.
That corporate styling thing we mentioned earlier is also evident when you get inside the cabin for the first time, with much of the interior matching Chevrolet’s other offerings. The Groove is roomy enough for five people, and the red stitching, panoramic sunroof and leather steering wheel (complete with the usual gizmos) all give the impression of an above-average-quality vehicle.
The eight-inch touchscreen is standard on both the LT and Premier models and comes with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The manufacturer’s infotainment system is rather simpler to use than those provided by some other carmakers, and the four (LT) or six (Premier) speakers that make up the sound system are decent enough.
The Groove will serve as a very respectable vehicle for those after a budget SUV that won’t give credit cards a hammering at petrol stations, it’s well worth the attention of those seeking a stylish and inexpensive ride with a good range of technology.
We said it aims to amuse, and there will be more than a few out there who are likely to agree.