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Car reviews - Daewoo - 1.5i - 3-dr hatch

Our Opinion

We like
Looks, size, space
Room for improvement
Safety, handling, steering, roadholding, comfort, refinement, el-cheapo image

7 May 2003

THE introduction of the three-car Daewoo range onto the market in September, 1994, marked the entry of a second South Korean manufacturer into the Australian market.

The cars were based on the Opel Kadett and Vauxhall Astra models which were sold in the European market up to the early 1990s.

The marketing campaign emphasised the bargain-basement price and bigger interior space than the Daewoo's rivals, rather than leading edge technology.

The Daewoo came with a generous three-year, 100,000km warranty which went a long way towards answering any questions about medium and long-term reliability. The package appealed to buyers and the 1.5i sold quite well.

The Daewoo 1.5i three-door hatch was the entry level model so the equipment level was not a strong point. It included the basics such as a four-speaker AM/FM radio/cassette, analogue clock and rear window demister. Air-conditioning was a reasonably priced option.

The 1.5i remained on the market unchanged until October, 1995, when it was superseded by the Cielo.

The Daewoo is powered by a four-cylinder, 1.5-litre engine produced by the Holden Engine Company in Melbourne. It has a single overhead camshaft with two valves per cylinder and multi- point fuel-injection.

The engine is smooth and quiet at normal speeds but becomes coarse above 4000rpm.

The Daewoo is relatively heavy at 950kg but the engine has enough power and torque to provide performance competitive with its rivals.

Braking and suspension systems perform their functions reliably and safely without any sporting pretensions.

The Daewoo's front-wheel drive layout, suspension and tyres place modest limits on road-holding ability.

The lack of power-assistance makes the steering fairly heavy despite having a high four-and-a-half turns from lock to lock.

The engine and transmission have the benefit of more than 15 years of development in several different cars so reliability on that front should not be a problem.

The single overhead camshaft and two valves per cylinder layout make the engine easy to service and repair.

Service intervals are every 10,000km and spare parts are competitively priced, particularly when compared to some of Daewoo's Japanese rivals.

The best way to avoid buying someone else's problems is to make sure there is a recorded history of service and maintenance and have a competent and comprehensive inspection before buying.

The Daewoo does not have any outstanding engineering or styling features but will appeal to buyers who want a four-seat car which is reliable, cheap to run and, above all, affordable.

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