Briefly sold by South Korean automaker Daewoo, the Lacetti is a four-door sedan with a capable engine and impressive kit. Produced by Daewoo starting in 2002, and still on offer today in many international markets, the Lacetti was in fact only available from 2003 to 2004, meaning that not many of the cars were sold here. Designed in several body configurations, including a four-door sedan, five-door hatchback, and five-door station wagon, the Lacetti was only available here in the sedan iteration. There have been two generations of the Lacetti over the decade of its production, but only the first generation was made available in Australia.
In 2004, during the so-called ‘Asian Economic Crisis,’ Holden, the parent company of Daewoo, was forced to pull the budget carmaker out of the market after a prolonged struggle, effectively shutting down all operations. Due to this fact, the Lacetti was no longer available as a new car; however, grey market imports continued to be prevalent. As a result, many Lacettis can be found inexpensively on the used car market today. These sturdy, reliable cars have proven to be great pre-owned vehicles, and anyone looking for an attractive, solid four-door sedan should consider purchasing a Daewoo Lacetti.
One of the Lacetti’s main selling points is its European styling. During the development process, South Korean automaker Daewoo handed over the design to renowned Italian studio Pininfarina. With Italians behind the wheel, the Lacetti got an attractive and contemporary design, much better looking than its predecessor, the Daewoo Nubira. In addition, the unique 6-window treatment on the car’s side profile added light and space to the car’s interior. And with a below-$20,000 original purchase price, the Lacetti found favour among many car enthusiasts on a budget.
Another attractive feature singular to the Lacetti is its spacious interior cabin. Larger than all similarly priced competitors, the Lacetti features more than enough room to comfortably seat 5 adults. With ample headroom and legroom in both the front and the rear of the car, the Lacetti makes for a great family vehicle.
Solid and quiet, the Lacetti’s build is a significant improvement over previous Daewoos. What’s more, comfortable seats and great kit combine to make the Lacetti a good deal for its low price point. However, plastic and rubber materials on the interior indicate the cost-cutting measures taken by the struggling South Korean Daewoo Company. Despite this fact, a comfortable ride and competent engine under the bonnet more than make up for the cheap interior materials. All in all, the Daewoo Lacetti is a solid, modern four-door sedan that should be considered by every used car-buyer on a budget.
Due to the fact that the Lacetti was only sold here across two model years, the car was only available with one engine. The 1.8L V4 engine is the same that’s featured in the Holden Astra, and it was manufactured in Holden’s Melbourne plant. With an output of 90kW of power and 165Nm of torque, the Lacetti isn’t exactly a powerhouse, but it most definitely gets the job done. Good acceleration and a smooth, quiet motor round out the Lacetti’s features.
Macpherson strut suspension makes for a comfortable ride, while the four-wheel disc brakes are a great safety feature. Throughout the years, the car was available with both manual and automatic transmission. Unfortunately, a stuttering gearshift combined with a light clutch make the manual version the less attractive option.
Plenty of interior space, attractive styling, and great safety features came standard on all Lacettis. In terms of interior features, the cars were pretty much adherent to the segment trend. For example, standard equipment included an in-dash CD player with the stereo system, power windows, power mirrors, air-conditioning with a special pollen filter, dual airbags, power steering, and remote central locking with an alarm. Comfortable front seats with a range of adjustments made for a comfortable driving experience. In general, for its purchase price, the Daewoo Lacetti offered a solid range of standard kit. A limited edition trim of the car was also made available.
When it first came on the market, the Daewoo Lacetti entered an already crowded segment. Low-cost sedans were prevalent, with options from Mazda, Nissan, Toyota, Ford, and Holden all competing for the relatively large market segment. The Nissan Pulsar and Toyota Corolla proved especially tough competition. As comparison, the Pulsar featured a 1.8L 16-valve V4 engine with 94kW of output. Additionally, the four-door sedan from Toyota offered a 1.8L in-line V4 with 100kW of power and 171Nm of torque.