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Future models - Daewoo - Lacetti - wagon

First look: New Lacetti wagon waits in the wings

Crisp: Like its sedan sibling, the Lacetti wagon displays clean European lines.

GM Daewoo plays the waiting game with two new Lacetti varieties

Daewoo logo16 Mar 2004

GM Daewoo Australia is still deliberating over a decision to introduce the Lacetti wagon and hatchback, hot on the heels of the former car’s unveiling at the Geneva motor show this month.

The lack of a suitably powerful engine is the most likely reason behind the delays, but the chances of the cars coming to Australia also depend on a review local distributor Holden is currently working through in the wake of 2003's disappointing Daewoo sales.

A new plan for Daewoo here was expected to be finalised by the end of the first quarter.

For the moment, the Lacetti is offered in two four-cylinder engine guises – an 80kW 1.6-litre unit and the 90kW 1.8-litre motor currently serving the four-door sedan locally.

It is believed GM Daewoo Australia is holding out for production of a gutsier 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine.

The Lacetti wagon’s predecessor – the 1997-2003 Nubira – utilised Holden’s 98kW 2.0-litre Family II unit in the final four years of its life here.

Offering a smaller-capacity and less-powerful engine in the popular Nubira wagon’s replacement would be seen as a retrograde step for GM Daewoo.

Particularly as a 100kW engine (albeit also a 1.8) powers the small car segment’s runaway best-seller, the Toyota Corolla, while the Daewoo’s homegrown arch-rival – the Hyundai Elantra – now offers 105kW 2.0-litre power.

Gearbox choices in the new Daewoo wagon are limited to a five-speed manual, with a four-speed automatic optional on the 1.8.

Like the Lacetti sedan, the wagon is the work of Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina.

However, like the Giorgio Giugiaro-penned hatch, the wagon eschews Daewoo’s long-running three-slot corporate grille for a new full-length item featuring a bold horizontal bar capped in the centre by the company’s logo (a move the Kalos light car has also just adopted).

Along with a reprofiled bonnet and bumper, it gives the wagon a fuller, squarer front-on appearance.

And – curiously – the wagon’s door handles ditch the other variants’ lift-up variety for the more-modish pullout items.

The boxy rear-end features a 400-litre load capacity that extends to 1410 litres with the split-fold rear bench folded.

Adding to its wagon ways are a standard roof rack, a 12-volt power socket in the luggage compartment and a plethora of storage pockets.

Lacetti wagon joins a growing range of models emanating from Daewoo’s J200 small car platform.

The four-door sedan was first unveiled in late 2002, while the hatchback debuted at last September’s Frankfurt motor show.

In late 2005 a compact four-door four-wheel drive SUV in the vein of the Toyota RAV4 is expected to be the next model spawned off the Lacetti’s J200 platform.

Holden, the major shareholder in GM Daewoo Automotive, is believed to be co-developing this car in Melbourne, and it should feature the upcoming HFV6 family of engines.

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