Daewoo Matiz 1.0 SE+ (2003) | CARkeys

12 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Daewoo Matiz 1.0 SE+ (2003) | CARkeys
Daewoo Matiz

Daewoo Matiz

1.0 SE+ review

In its original 0.8-litre specification, the Daewoo Matiz is quite a charming little Giugiaro-styled city car. No firecracker out on the open road, but cute to look at, and pleasant to drive around in city and suburbia.

Now there’s a one-litre version, at whose launch the new GM Daewoo UK company started using the description mini-MPV. Is it really one of those, and has the jump in capacity made much difference to the performance?

Well, the Matiz was never really designed as a mini-MPV, but its roof height does give it a roomier passenger cabin than you might suppose. Inside, it doesn’t feel as narrow as it looks from the outside.

It is, though, a very compact car, and the design certainly gives priority to passenger space over luggage capacity.

We needed some overspill on the back seat to take two people’s luggage – well, plus a laptop computer in its own shoulder bag – away for a few days, not particularly wanting to make use of the split/fold rear seat arrangement. Of course, as is the case with many small cars, a Matiz owner would almost certainly have luggage available, if not actually tailored, to make the maximum use of the limited space inside the tailgate. Skip the computer, and we might have managed well enough to keep the luggage where it was intended.

In the SE+ test car, the interior layout and presentation were neatly done, with quite an effective metal-effect finish to the centre console, and a digital clock away forward in the centre of the fascia top. The entry-level SE has a decent enough specification for its price, while the SE+ adds features like central locking, electric operation of the front windows, and two extra speakers in the rear cabin for the radio/cassette system.

It doesn’t give the impression of being a down-to-the-budget job, and the overall finish is better than in some rivals where we’d be content to classify it – among the city cars. Outside, the SE+ has alloy wheels and a rear tailgate spoiler, although I wouldn’t like to guess just how effective that feature may be.

Out on the road, the larger engine certainly makes its extra muscle felt. Four cylinders instead of three, 995cc against 796cc, 63bhp at 5400rpm compared with 50bhp at 6600rpm and – most important of all – 64lb/ft of torque at 4200rpm where the smaller engine provides just 49lb/ft at 4600rpm.

These changes make a big difference, especially in the way the Matiz tackles hills, where the smaller-capacity model often struggles or, at least, appreciates a downward change, even on main roads. One of the routes we used on a test of 1000 miles or so was the northbound section of the M6 from Carnforth towards Shap. There are several long uphill stretches there which can sap the power of a small engine, but two-up with luggage the one-litre never hesitated, and charged on in fifth.

Daewoo Matiz

What the Matiz in either specification doesn’t much like is a crosswind. You only have to look at the silhouette and general stance of the car to realise that. And it doesn’t matter if the crosswind is one of those annoying westerlies which affect so many of the UK’s north-south motorways, or the effect of going into and out of the wind shadow of an articulated truck.

When the wind blows, you have to concentrate to defend the Matiz against buffeting. Otherwise, it’s a light and easy car to drive.

There’s a fair selection of extra-cost options. Our test car had the £500 air-conditioning which is available only on the SE+, a Sony CD upgrade at £175, and reverse park sensors, which we’re beginning to think are a sensible idea on any size or type of car, at £350.

Second opinion . The lack of width is clear on twisty roads, where the Matiz tends to start teetering – perhaps more so than the 0.8-litre version. For that reason I feel even more vulnerable in this car than in the less powerful ones. But there’s a surprising amount of passenger room (I didn’t have the opportunity to try the luggage space, since the test car was whisked away by other parties) and this is still by some way the best Daewoo. David Finlay .

Third opinion . I was a fan of the original 800cc three-cylinder clockwork Matiz, so was delighted when Daewoo produced the one-litre job with its whopping 63bhp. Now, scoff ye not, this is quick enough to drive everywhere flat-out (no lifting at all) and interesting enough to be sorted out on the throttle when you get there. Chuck it sideways, scrub off a bit of speed and you won’t need the brakes, just keep the right foot welded to the floor.

If you do lift, even hesitate, momentum is lost and it will take a weekend to get back up to top speed. Honestly, I kid you not, this is as much fun as an original Mini. It might be a wee bit cramped and it might lack a few creature comforts, but if your elderly aunt buys one and offers to let you drive it, just buy a wig and a moustache and go for it – especially if it’s raining! John Fife .

Daewoo Matiz
Daewoo Matiz
Daewoo Matiz
Daewoo Matiz
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