Daewoo Lacetti 2003 Car Review NRMA Motoring & Services

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Daewoo Lacetti Car Review

Author: NRMA Motoring Date: 10 November 2003

The GM Daewoo Lacetti is an all-new model, replacing the Daewoo Nubira, first introduced in Australia back in June 1997.

The Lacetti is available in a sedan (a hatchback will be available late 2004), for just $19,490, manual transmission and $21,490 for the automatic. As we have come to expect from GM Daewoo, the vehicle comes with a long list of standard features. A limited edition version, which includes a host of additional safety and luxury features, is available in automatic only for $24,790.

The Lacetti was styled by the Pinifarina Design Studio in Italy. The appearance and style of the vehicle reflects this influence; it has a definite European look and feel. Overall the finish, both interior and exterior, is of a high standard. Interior moldings and trim reflect a quality feel rather than built-to-a-price feel that Korean vehicles in this class have displayed in the past. This improvement is most likely a result of the increased involvement by General Motors.

The only criticism is that a slight waviness was evident in the lower sections of the door skins.

The new engine is a 1.8-litre DOHC family II engine which, in keeping with the previous model, is manufactured in Australia by the Holden Motor Company.

It is similar in specification to the 1.8-litre Astra. The engine is smaller in capacity to the previous 2.0-litre Nubira, and develops 8kW less power and 20Nm less torque. However, the peak torque figure is at 4,000 rpm — 400 rpm lower than the previous model, which gives improved mid-range performance and flexibility on the road.

The automatic transmission is an all-new unit, which employs the latest technology. Adaptive gear control adjusts to the driving conditions by the use of Fuzzy Logic, a term used to describe the electronic software that controls and alters the transmission shift points.

Driver and passenger comfort is excellent; the driver’s seat has separate adjustments for height and lumbar support as well as an infinitely adjustable rotary knob for backrest adjustment.

A range of measures to improve occupant safety have been incorporated into the body structure. High strength steel has been used in critical areas in the body structure to improve rigidity and passenger compartment safety.

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Around town the Lacetti feels lively and spirited, the 1.8-litre engine easily coping with the demands of city driving. Similarly, on the highway, the Lacetti gives a competent, sure-footed performance. The tyres fitted to the vehicle are 195/55×15 Kumhos and give the Lacetti good grip, however the open tread design of the makes them susceptible to noise on coarser sections of road.

Some initial harshness was felt in suspension travel, also likely due to the low profile tyres.

The automatic transmission became confused on occasion, delaying the selection of the next ratio slightly. The steering assistance was good; however, it did not transmit a lot of feel to the driver on tight, twisty sections of open road.

Part of the Lacetti’s pre-production testing was carried out in Australia, and this was reflected by the overall tight feel and lack of rattles while driving and the inclusion of an airconditioning system suitable for harsh Australian summers.

The driving position has a large range of adjustments to suit most drivers, and the cabin ergonomics mean that controls fall to hand easily, with the exception of the oddly placed electric boot release button.


With a new design, GM Daewoo’s entrant in this class makes it better equipped to tackle its rivals. With the input of GM, a long list of standard features, and good on-road traits, the Lacetti is well worthy of consideration and should be added to the list of anyone buying in this class.

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