Daewoo Espero CD 1995 Car Reviews NRMA Motoring & Services

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Daewoo Espero CD Car Review

Author: NRMA Motoring Date: 9 December 1995

As the second Korean car manufacturer to have a crack at the Australian market, Daewoo has enjoyed spectacular success since its first model — the 1.5i — was released here in July 1994.

Value-for-money has been one of the big attractions of the 1.5i (and its replacement, the Cielo) and that criterion certainly carries over to the Espero, Daewoo’s entry into the fiercely competitive world of medium four cylinder cars.

Though it lacks the refinement of its Australian, Japanese and European competitors, and disappoints on some other aspects such as chassis dynamics and noise and harshness levels, the Espero represents a lot of car for the money.

Powered by a 2.0 litre four cylinder engine built in Melbourne by Holden’s Engine Company, the Espero performs well, is roomy and comfortable, and has a reasonably stylish body designed by the noted Italian stylist, Bertone.

Espero equipment levels are lavish by similarly-priced competitor’s standards. The list includes air conditioning, electric windows, central locking, heated and electrically-adjustable mirrors, four-speaker anti-theft radio plus CD player (but without tape player), power steering, fog lights front and rear, tilt steering, adjustable front upper seat belt mounts and driver’s seat height adjustment. A combined safety package comprising ABS and a driver’s airbag is optional at $2,050.

Choosing an Espero is easy, as there’s only one model — the CD sedan. Of course, there’s always the choice of colours, plus the option of manual or automatic transmission. As at November 1995, the manual version cost $23,750 and the auto, $27,500.

Detail finish isn’t one of the Espero’s strong points. The centre console was wobbly in the test car, there was bare metal showing in the boot compartment, and the interior generally, doesn’t impart a feeling of quality.

Space isn’t a problem in the Espero; the front will suit all but very tall drivers, while rear leg room is quite generous. The seats are reasonably soft and therefore comfortable to sit on, but they lack good support for cornering or for long spells at the wheel. The ride is relatively soft, giving good comfort over most conditions, but it’s at the expense of handling preciseness.

Though it lacks a fold-down rear seat, the Espero’s voluminous boot compartment should prove plenty large enough for most owners’ requirements. It’s not that deep, but it’s very long and wide. A porthole (with cover) allows for storage of long items such as skis.

Driving the Espero is a reasonably pleasant experience providing the conditions, or your own requirements, aren’t too demanding.

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The 2.0 litre SOHC engine mightn’t be the latest in high-tech design, but it’s a good slugger that will pull happily from low engine speeds and provide more than adequate performance for most conditions.

In steady driving, the Espero gets along quietly enough, but give it firm acceleration and take it into the higher rev ranges and the engine becomes coarse and noisy.

It’s a similar story with handling. Treat the Espero gently and it handles capably in an unfussed manner. But under duress, the damping isn’t up to the job of providing good suspension control and the steering vagueness becomes more apparent.

Better tyres and suspension tuning by some of our very good local talent could no doubt improve the Espero’s handling significantly.


The Daewoo Espero might lack the refinement of many of its competitors when it comes to things like noise and harshness, chassis dynamics and detail finish, but it certainly has no trouble competing on value for money and equipment levels.

So while the Espero won’t necessarily attract the more demanding type of driver, it does have plenty of appeal for buyers whose priorities are focused more towards just getting themselves into an affordable new car that’s roomy, with adequate performance, and with ample comfort and convenience features.

Daewoo Electric Cars
Daewoo Electric Cars
Daewoo Electric Cars
Daewoo Electric Cars

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