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Review by Neil Harrison Photos by Neil Harrison and Chevrolet SA

In decades past, if you didn’t believe in birth control, you ended up driving a Volksie bus. In this age of expensive education, the 7-seater or mid-sized MPV category is less sparsely populated; and, at a price of R287 400, the vehicle reviewed here is one of the more affordable models on offer.

Of course, if you can afford to spend two or three times that amount, you’d probably gravitate towards the most accomplished 7-seater of them all: Land Rover’s Discovery. Besides being a vehicle that can drive just about any road, it’ll also accommodate six-footers in all three of its seating rows. You see, that’s the dirty secret about 7-seaters: most of them will accommodate only a child in the third row; or, as the marketers euphemistically term it, a 75 percentile person. And that’s pretty much the case with the Orlando.

But what of it? For most buyers of this type of vehicle, the third row is reserved for occasional use: hauling the kids (and their mates) to soccer practice, or for when ouma and oupa come along for a drive in the country.

But, before we go on, let’s put the Orlando in its place. This vehicle is manufactured by General Motors Korea and is based on the Chevrolet Cruze floor plan – a sedan. In South Africa, the Orlando is available with one engine variant: a 1.8-litre, fuelinjected, 16-valve petrol unit running through a 5-speed manual box.

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