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Daewoo Lacetti review. Image by Daewoo.

Daewoo Lacetti review
The Lacetti is Daewoo's latest offering in the compact hatch market. At launch the range consisted of the 9,495 1.4 SE and 10,495 1.6 SX, and that's it - a refreshingly simple approach to selling cars.

   



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The Lacetti is Daewoo's latest offering in the compact hatch market. At launch the range consisted of the 9,495 1.4 SE and 10,495 1.6 SX, and that's it - a refreshingly simple approach to selling cars. A 1.8-litre range topper is promised in the near future, though with the changeover of brands from Daewoo to Chevrolet, we are not quite sure what will happen to the Lacetti range. We had a week with the 1.4 SE 16v.

As you'd expect you get a lot of Daewoo metal for your money. The 9,495 price tag buys effectively nets a Ford Focus sized car for Fiesta cash. The Lacetti is a good looking car too, styled by none other than Giorgetto Giugiaro. Catering to European tastes the Lacetti takes its cues from many of its rivals with more than a few shades of the outgoing Vauxhall Astra, particularly around the front. The 5-door body houses a roomy interior, thanks to a relatively long wheelbase, with plenty of useful storage cubbies and a capacious boot. Fit and finish are excellent, but the quality and blandness of the materials is a giveaway to the price sticker. The layout and look of the dash are good with the dials being very clear and easy to read at a glance. Generous standard equipment includes a DAB digital radio, CD player, electric windows and remote central locking. Dual airbags, ABS and a Cat 2 immobiliser add to the peace of mind.

A good range of adjustment for the steering wheel and seat ensure that most people will be able to find a comfortable driving position, but the driving experience won't leave you yearning for more. The engine is rated at 93bhp, but frankly doesn't feel it, and mechanical sympathy means any attempt to spin it to the 6300rpm needed to get that full 93 horses is strictly in the interests of trying to confirm their existence. I did it once, then got used to changing up at around 5000rpm and relied on its usefully torquey mid-range. The gear change bears a startling resemblance to an early '90s Astra. I'm not sure whether the Lacetti uses Astra componentry; if it does then they picked just about the worst aspect. The change is notchy, vague and rubbery. I lost count of the times I got the wrong gear. We haven't driven other Lacettis yet, with the larger engines, but think that they'd be worth looking at to see whether the engine and gearbox combination are better.

The handling is fairly basic with understeer being the order of the day and very few thrills on the menu. The Lacetti is competent, but no more than that. The ride on the other hand is impressive and feels much more like a bigger car. In fact the NVH and general refinement are very good. The Lacetti is a capable and comfortable tourer and when you drive it gently it is a pleasant companion - other than that tiresome gearbox. Only when pressing on does the Lacetti's case begin to lose credence, but at the end of the day most of the people looking to buy this car won't be doing it in search of thrills and invigoration.

As per usual one of the biggest selling points for the Daewoo is the value for money factor: 3 years free servicing, warranty and AA cover is included in the 9,495 price and is quite rightly called the peace-of-mind package. It is all about making the ownership experience as easy and painless as possible. Also, bear in mind that for the rest of 2004, until the Chevrolet name is rolled out, any Lacetti you buy will be replaced by the manufacturer with the equivalent Chevy version for free. That's two new cars in six months, what a bargain!

Overall the Lacetti is a car aimed at people who want to own a practical and functional car, but also want a brand new one. Keen drivers need not apply; your money would be better spent elsewhere on a second hand Focus or Astra. However, to be fair to Daewoo, you probably weren't in the target demographic when the Lacetti was conceived and only keen drivers would find the weak points in the Lacetti package. For those who love the experience of buying and owning a new car, but need to do so on a budget, the Lacetti is a competent package.

Dave Jenkins - 25 Nov 2004



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2004 Daewoo Lacetti specifications: (1.4 16v SE)
Price: 9,495 on-the-road (test car had Mica paint at an extra cost of 249).
0-62mph: 11.6 seconds
Top speed: 109mph
Combined economy: 39.8mpg
Emissions: 171g/km
Kerb weight: 1170kg

2004 Daewoo Lacetti. Image by Daewoo.2004 Daewoo Lacetti. Image by Daewoo.2004 Daewoo Lacetti. Image by Daewoo.2004 Daewoo Lacetti. Image by Daewoo.2004 Daewoo Lacetti. Image by Daewoo.

2004 Daewoo Lacetti. Image by Daewoo.  


2004 Daewoo Lacetti. Image by Daewoo.
 

2004 Daewoo Lacetti. Image by Daewoo.
 

2004 Daewoo Lacetti. Image by Daewoo.
 

2003 Daewoo Lacetti. Image by Daewoo.
 

2004 Daewoo Lacetti. Image by Daewoo.
 

2004 Daewoo Lacetti. Image by Daewoo.
 






 

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