Daewoo Kalos

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Daewoo Kalos

(April

The Kalos compact is the first new car Daewoo under new owner Motors, and, if it’s a of things to come, then the looks very good Russell Williamson explains

Hyundai arrived in Australia in the mid it revolutionized the local car market. like when the Japanese arrived in the 1960s, here was a alternative to buying a used car offered basic, but new,

After Hyundai established with Excel, it wasn’t before the two other Koreans saw the in the market here and by the mid-’90s, and Kia had joined the fight for the bargain buyer.

Massive expansion and some dubious operational soon saw all three Korean running close to bankruptcy and in massive debt. DaimlerChrysler to the aid of Hyundai, which had previously Kia, and finally after of negotiations, General Motors, Holden as the major stakeholder, Daewoo in 2002.

Now with a Holden-owned local GM-Daewoo — as the company is branded — is about to try and itself on the market with a new of cars. The first of these is the which replaces the Lanos, the mid-sized Nubira sedan be replaced with the Lacetti this year.

Like the the Kalos, which apparently beauty in ancient Greek, is as a sedan and five-door hatch. You are to confuse the car with its predecessor as, been penned by Italdesign, it the now familiar tall-body Euro that so many entry-level are taking on.

The general idea behind type of body is to provide interior space and versatility and in areas this comes in the Kalos.

Up front has a decent of space but step through the rear doors and an average-sized will find the back tight on head and legroom. Get the back seat and the boot is — just 195 litres although it can be expanded via the 60/40 fold rear, and the whole base folds forward to a bigger, but not flat, floor

The storage cubbies are also you would be lucky to squeeze a or Melbourne-sized street directory the door bins.

What does impress the interior, however, is the styling and of the fit and finish, which is light ahead of the Lanos. A mix of textures, and materials in the dash and door helps break up the usual found in many cars this price, and actually it feel more upmarket its $14,990 pricetag would

Daewoo Kalos

It also comes with a list of standard equipment includes air-conditioning, radio/CD driver and passenger airbags and windows for the front and rear. It however, miss out on power and more importantly, central which given the target seems an oversight. When about this, Daewoo that this can be fitted by as an aftermarket option, while like the passenger airbag, the company says is necessary for it to upon the Lanos’ poor record, can’t.

Under the bonnet, sits an version of the Lanos’ 1.5-litre engine. Despite the upgrade, engine is still pretty and produces maximum figures of and 128Nm. Stacked up against the these sound more they should come a 1.3-litre, but that said, on the it seems enough to get the little Kalos off the mark and maintaining with the traffic.

It is also refined and quiet and really makes its presence known pushed beyond 4500rpm.

Not that there is much in this as the engine does its work below this so probably best to make use of the slightly notchy but still to use five-speed manual gearshift and it spinning between 2000-4000rpm.

On the the Kalos provides a comfortable over all surfaces with of compliance in the softish suspension. The for this however, is in the handling the car exhibiting quite a bit of body through corners at anything than sedate speeds, and reasonably quick to understeer, in the wet. The power-assisted steering is with little feel, and the disc and rear drum do a decent job of pulling the car up.

While is obviously not one of the car’s strong it is not the sort of car that owners want to push hard, so for urban traveling or even cruising, the bias on ride is appreciated.

There is no doubt that the is a massive improvement over the and if it is a sign of things to come, the reborn Daewoo may prove to be a investment for GM. It is a competent small runabout that looks good too, and its biggest is still the price.

Published. 1 April 2003

Daewoo Kalos
Daewoo Kalos
Daewoo Kalos
Daewoo Kalos
Daewoo Kalos
Daewoo Kalos
Daewoo Kalos
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