Daewoo Kalos Review and Specs

Daewoo Kalos Review


  • Italian styling makes for an attractive car inside and out
  • Offered as both a five-door sedan and a three-door hatchback
  • Easy to drive and inexpensive to maintain


  • Interior cabin space is on the smaller side
  • Not particularly durable
  • Daewoo shut down operations in Australia in 2004
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Overview, Look, and Feel of the Daewoo Kalos

Built and marketed by South Korean automaker Daewoo, the Kalos was first offered on the market in 2002. Over the years, the Kalos has been known by a number of different names, including the Holden Barina, however, in model years 2003 and 2004, the Kalos held its original Daewoo name. The car was available as either a sedan or a hatchback, giving new and used car buyers lots of options when it comes to desired body configuration.

The Kalos was a popular car, renowned for its impressive safety features, well-laid out interiors, and attractive exterior styling. However, despite its relative popularity, the Kalos could not make up for the steadily slumping sales of Daewoo. Parent company Holden was forced to shut down Daewoo following years of poor sales numbers. When Daewoo shuttered its doors permanently in 2004, the Kalos was rebadged as the Holden Barina.

When the Kalos originally came on the market, it surely impressed. The South Korean automaker turned the design of the car over to a company called Italdesign Giugiaro S.p.A., based in Moncalieri, Italy. This particular studio has a long history designing vehicles for Volkswagen and has even been known to produce a Ferrari concept car on occasion. With this impressive heritage in mind, Daewoo decided to give the company a shot at designing the Kalos. The result was a sleek-lined European looking car with serious style. Those looking for Asian engineering in a European package were pleased by the Daewoo’s combination of practicality and aesthetics.

The Daewoo was popular for several reasons. First, car buyers enjoyed having the option of a five-door sedan or a three-door hatchback. In addition, the cars were generally reliable (though after a certain amount of kms, there have been reports of mechanical issues). In addition, the Kalos features great fuel economy, making it an inexpensive car to run. The fuel economy was one of the Kalos’s biggest selling points, and it attracted many buyers who were looking for an economical car that didn’t cost a bundle to fill up. In addition, the Kalos offered a smooth and comfortable ride. Easy to drive and compact, the Kalos makes for a perfect first or family vehicle. What’s more, many of the Daewoos are available today on the market at inexpensive prices. With attractive styling, high-quality engineering, and great standard kit, the Daewoo Kalos could be the perfect car for some buyers.

Daewoo Kalos Engine Specs and Performance

The original generation of the Kalos featured a wide variety of engine options. On offer from 2002 to 2004, this was in fact the only generation available under that name. Later, when the Kalos became the Holden Barina, several other generations (each with their own trims and engines under the bonnet) soon followed. In various markets, the Kalos was available as a 1.2L engine, 1.4L engine, 1.5L engine, or 1.6L engine. All of these options were V4s and all ran on petrol. In addition, this early Kalos was available with either a manual or automatic transmission for added convenience.

The option most commonly offered here was the 1.5L V4 engine. This particular engine had an output of 62kW of power at 5600rpm and 128Nm of torque at 3000rpm. While the Kalos never offered much in the way of power, the engine definitely gets the job done.

Standard Equipment and Options for the Daewoo Kalos

A wide range of standard equipment was available on this offering from Daewoo. Being South Korean, the car came equipped with state-of-the-art technology at a relatively low purchase price. In general, the Kalos featured air-conditioning, power steering, power windows, power mirrors, carpet dashboard protector, and impressive fuel economy. A great standard safety feature on the Kalos was dual airbags, and the car always held up well in crash tests. In addition the Kalos features a good sound system with a CD player. In general, the Kalos was well equipped when it came to features, and generally better fitted than some of its budget competition.

Daewoo Kalos's Competition

Entering a crowded market segment (with both the sedan and the hatchback), the Kalos faced serious competition from the likes of automakers such as Suzuki and Daihatsu. From Suzuki came the ever-popular Liana, which featured a 1.6L in-line V4 engine with 76kW of power and 144Nm of torque. Alternatively, the Daihatsu Sirion, a Japanese import, featured a 1.3L in-line V4 with an output of 75kW and 120Nm of torque.

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