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Road test: 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE
story by Shane O' Donoghue, pictures by Kelvin Fagan


I wonder if you had the same preconceived views of the diminutive Daewoo Matiz as I had before taking delivery of the mini-mini. Even with our supposedly unbiased opinions, journalists more often than not pre-determine a car's characteristics before even driving it. I fell into that trap while considering how exactly I could test Daewoo's baby. I imagined the Matiz to be handy around town and easy to drive and park (marketing works then). I was right on all counts. However, I also dreaded taking the car on anything resembling a quick road, let alone a motorway. The idea of spirited driving was also far from my plans for the week of testing.

Best laid plans and all that. After several hundred miles of mainly motorway and quick A-road driving, my views were dramatically altered. It may be nearing its top speed (and it may be illegal) but the Matiz can hit and stay at 90 mph with little bother. Obviously you will not be racing the hoards of VW Golfs and other rep-mobiles on the road, but trucks are easily shrugged off. Not bad for a 796cc, three-cylinder engine!

Thankfully, those same trucks do not use their mighty influence on the airflow around them to blow the Matiz offline. I had imagined veering several feet on passing each one, but Daewoo have done a great job on the car's stability. Reassuringly, even if the car were shoved a few feet either way, there would most likely still be plenty of room. This is a very narrow car, as you see from some of the shots. The compact dimensions do, as I mentioned, make parking a doddle. The SE model we tested was fitted with proximity sensors on the rear of the car, which work a treat, though are perhaps wasted on a car so easy to manoeuvre.

Surprisingly, the car is as easy to place on a twisty road. Again, the dimensions aid progress, particularly on Britain's brand of B-road. It actually became quite fun to hustle the Matiz along. Amazingly, it was even more fun in the wet, at which point there is just enough power to overcome the tyres, resulting in a nicely balanced attitude through corners. As expected though, body roll is pronounced, so I would not advise doing it with a boot full of bottles on your way to the recycling bank...

The space in the car is impressive and somewhat deceiving. Inside, there is room for four adults to be quite comfortable, yet there is also a surprisingly large boot space. Out with the tape measure and it soon becomes clear that the car is perhaps not as small as you may imagine. It is very narrow, but it is not particularly lacking in length, and the added height frees up the interior nicely. Bertone have disguised the proportions well. The front view may be a little gawky, as the aspect ratio seems to be the wrong way around, but in general, the exterior detailing is on the right side of cheeky, if not quite in the desirable league of say the Smart.

Inside, the Matiz delivers the goods you ordered. All controls are light and easy to reach. The appearance is pleasant, though the aqua-coloured dials are a touch out of place in my view. Some of the trim could be better made - in particular the stereo surround, but in general you will not be disappointed if you spend 5995 of your hard-earned pounds on this car. Yes, you did read correctly - less than 6000 will get you the Daewoo Matiz SE. Does that change your preconceptions?

The UK Daewoo website is at http://www.daewoo.co.uk.

The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image. The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image. The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image. The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image.

Technical specifications

Performance
Max speed (mph): 89.
0-62 mph (seconds): 17.
Urban mpg: 35.8.
Extra urban mpg: 55.4.
Combined mpg: 46.3.
CO2 (g/100 km): 161.

Engine
Three cylinder, in-line, transversely mounted.
Cubic capacity: 796cc.
Bore x stroke (mm): 68.5 x 72.0.
Valve gear: Two valves per cylinder, SOHC.
Fuel system: Electronic multi-point fuel injection.
Max power (bhp): 50 at 6000 rpm.
Max torque (Nm): 69 at 4600 rpm.

Transmission
Test car fitted with 5 speed manual. Front wheel drive.
Ratios:
Final drive: 4.444
1st: 3.818
2nd: 2.210
3rd: 1.423
4th: 1.029
5th: 0.837

Chassis
Front: Independent MacPherson struts with coil springs and hydraulic dampers and an anti-roll bar.
Rear: Independent, isolated trailing links with coil springs and hydraulic dampers.
Steering: Rack and pinion with power assistance.
Turning circle: 4.5m.
Brakes: Front - 236mm solid discs. Rear - 180mm drums.
Wheels: 4.5J x 13 inch steel.
Tyres: 155/70 R13.

Dimensions
Length (mm): 3495.
Width (mm): 1495.
Height (mm): 1485.
Wheelbase (mm): 2340.
Front track (mm): 1315.
Rear track (mm): 1280.
Cargo volume (litres): 104 - 512.
Kerb weight (kg): 778.
Gross weight (kg): 1153.
Fuel tank capacity (litres): 35.


Picture gallery

The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image. The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image. The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image. The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image. The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image. The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image. The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image. The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image. The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image. The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image. The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image. The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image. The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image. The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image. The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image. The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image. The 2002 Daewoo Matiz SE. Photograph by Kelvin Fagan. Click here for a larger image.
 

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