And Malaysians in general, being the loyal and cautious lot that they are, aren't quick to warm over to the new kid on the block.
Chevrolet or colloquially known as Chevy, is an American brand which has been around since 1911.
Sure, it came to our shores about a hundred years later but as the saying goes, ‘better late than never’ right? Right!
So let’s take a look at a people mover you might have missed out on: the Chevrolet Orlando.
The Orlando is a 1.8-litre naturally aspirated seven-seater which has a boxy disposition design-wise and yet, it has a sleek quality about it.
Size-wise, it sits somewhere in the middle of the MPV range one can find on Malaysian roads, neither too bulky or too small with an overall length of 4,653mm, a height of 1,633mm and a spacious wheelbase of 2,760mm.
While it’s not exactly a head-turner, it’s not boring either.
The Orlando actually stands out among other MPVs with its split grille design, big squarish headlights and the clean lines across the body.
It also has a host of features that make it an enticing prospect. It’s got big comfortable seats with a good amount of head and leg room, even for passengers on the third row (boot space is compromised however).
Folding the seats is really a fuss-free operation with its ‘roll and fold’ function.
The second row seats have 60/40 split function and 50/50 on the third row and you have up to 16 different types of seating configurations.
You can even fold all the seats flat and have a flat cargo area of 1,499 litres.
This means you can turn the Orlando into your bedroom if you’re out camping.
The flexibility of folding and unfolding the seats to your needs is a useful option.
On top of it, you get auto climate control with rear air-con vents and then there is the auto headlamps and an auto rain sensor which means you don’t have to turn the lights on or off or even engage the wiper stalk because the car will do it for you.
Then you have the cabin itself which is very well insulated from external noise.
Coupled with a pliant suspension system, the Orlando offers an enjoyable and comfortable experience inside.
I was particularly impressed with the sound quality coming out of the in-car entertainment system with CD/MP3/WMA with Aux port. It also comes with Bluetooth connectivity.
One of the unusual but rather cool feature is the hidden compartment behind the head unit, which is not found in any other marque in Malaysia.
This is where you will find the ports for USB, so its useful that you can charge your phone and keep it in the compartment safely.
The downside is that you can’t shut the head unit if you want your phone beside you as there is no opening for the cable wire to go through.
When the sun goes down, the cabin lights up as an light electric blue hue illuminates the centre dashboard.
That same blue hue also lights up all the buttons and dials on the dashboard and steering wheel making it easier for you and your passengers to see all the controls without switching the lights on.
Driving this car was a lot of fun and it didn’t feel like you were driving an MPV but a sedan car instead.
That may be because it shares the same powertrain as the Chevrolet Cruze sedan.
The Orlando’s handling is admirable and it’s pretty stable around bends and corners.
The engine makes a bit of noise if you floor it but it’s all good because it sounds sporty and not vehemently protesting that it’s falling apart for throttling an MPV.
You can feel the torque giving you the momentum you need on lower gears or going uphill.
The Orlando has a maximum output of 141bhp and 176Nm of torque that’s enough for the hauling needs of an average family.
The only complaint here is that it guzzles fuel if you are heavy on the accelerator. So, you’ll want to take it easy on the throttle.
Where safety is concerned, the Orlando has two airbags, reverse sensor, anti-lock braking system, electronic brake distribution (EBD), electronic stability programme (ESP), disc brakes at the front and rear and a central locking alarm system.
The Orlando has a lot to offer for the price - RM118,886 - and considering that this model has been around for three years (and this review unit has clocked a mileage of over 55,000km), it really holds up well against time and doesn’t look or feel dated.
Plus, considering the abuse review units are prone to, this Orlando looks like it can put up with whatever you throw at it.
The Orlando has a five year warranty or 200,000km (whichever comes first).
This vehicle is available in six colours: Deep Espresso Brown, Carbon Flash Black, Satin Steel Grey, Summit White, Gun Smoke Grey and Switchblade Silver.