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Car reviews - Daewoo - Espero - CD 5-dr hatch

Our Opinion

We like
Spacious boot, equipment levels, lots of car for the money
Room for improvement
Quality, handling, 2.0 engine's performance, resale value

Daewoo logo25 Jul 2003

THE Daewoo Espero was styled by the Italian design studio Bertone while General Motors supplied much of the engineering technology.

It was released internationally in 1990.

The Espero was then restyled and introduced to Australia in early 1995 as the South Korean car-maker's contender in the mid-sized sector.

It still looks stylish despite its relative age and stands out from its rivals.

Daewoo banked on the package of a competitive price with a generous equipment list and a three-year/100,000km warranty to lure the buyers to the relatively new badge of unknown pedigree.

The strategy was a qualified success and Espero sold in reasonable numbers.

The Espero had one equipment level, badged as the CD, and the only option apart from automatic transmission was a safety package of Bosch anti-lock brakes and a driver's airbag.

Although the 2.0-litre engine branded the Espero as a medium- sized car, it is bigger than most of its medium-sized rivals. The interior space allows four adults to travel in comfort or five for short trips.

The impressive standard equipment list was the big drawcard. Air- conditioning, power steering, central locking, electric windows and an AM/FM radio with CD player are some of the major features.

Air-conditioning became an extra cost option in mid-1996

otherwise the Espero remained on the market unchanged until August, 1997.

The four-cylinder engine was produced by Holden's Engine Company in Victoria and has a modest power output of 84kW. Variations of this engine have been used in the Holden Camira and by Vauxhall in Great Britain, so it is well proven and reliable.

The fuel-injected engine's strong points are good mid-range torque with 164Nm at 3000rpm and economical fuel consumption.

The lack of complexity, with a single overhead camshaft and two valves per cylinder, will make it easy to service and repair.

Daewoo was playing catch-up with suspension, steering and tyre packages in the early 1990s so the Espero is not as sophisticated as its rivals in this area but it does have safe and predictable handling with mild understeer.

The ride quality is comfortable but some road noise intrudes into the cabin.

The Espero's depreciation performance has not been as good as the more established players in its class and if this trend continues it will become even better value for money.

In the medium-size value for money stakes, the Espero's equipment level, styling and large boot make it well worth considering.


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