A car that speaks volumes about its small size, the Daewoo Matiz is one of the most urban-compatible cars. Also branded as the Chevrolet Spark (after Daewoo’s takeover by General Motors), the Daewoo Matiz is produced by South Korean automobile conglomerate GM Korea. Manufactured since 1998, the car initially met criticism due its small size, but with increasing traffic snarls and congestion, this car became a saviour. Matiz is acclaimed for being a good value for the money, because it reduces costs of motoring and maintenance, while serving well in cities.
Designed by Italdesign Giugiaro, Daewoo introduced its second-generation model in 2005 and a third-generation model in 2010. This five-door hatchback was initially sold by the code name of M100, subsequently receiving other code names, M200 and M300. Daewoo Matiz’s exterior design is inspired from Lucciola, the Fiat Cinquecento design that had been rejected by the American automobile company, Fiat. Its 0.8L fuel engine and the transmission are same as that of Daewoo Tico.
Matiz’s handling is adequate for urban dwellers, but you shouldn’t expect too much if you intend to attack corners too enthusiastically or travel at higher speeds. It is true that Matiz has shortcomings when it comes to comfort and noise, especially when the engine is worked too hard, but it is suitable for budget-conscious buyers because of its strong features, average handling, and better suitability. Moreover, it has received facelifts time and again to ensure that the car can match up to its competitors at different levels.
All Matiz versions have a bright and airy cabin. Available in bright colours, such as yellow and green, the car manages to look quite vibrant on the road. Even though power assistance for steering can make parking a chore, it is still preferred because steering is quite satisfactory when the car is moving along the road. Reasonably packed in terms of space, practicality, and rear legroom, this car seems efficient for urban commuting. For 4 years since its launch in 1998, Matiz enjoyed the position of being a best-selling car from Daewoo, as it was a good value for families and city locales. Even after a decade, it enjoys a reputable stand with buyers and maintains an incredibly reliable stance when it comes to cost-friendliness and fuel-efficiency.
The original straight-3 engine of the Matiz was designed by Tickford, a UK-based company. The basic M100 and subsequent generations of Matiz were considered to have exceeded design norms with their airbags. The newer code M150, launched in 2000, received a facelift and came with 4-cylinder engine and a changed front-end structure. The 1.0L S-Tec unit was introduced only after 2002, when General Motors took over Daewoo.
Under the bonnet, the original 3-cylinder, 796cc engine provided 37.5kW of power and was relatively lightweight at 776kg. The second-generation Matiz, the M200 and M300, received several up-gradations, including 800c engine and a reduction in the car’s drag coefficient, which consequently led to better fuel economy. The third-generation Matiz was manufactured from 2010 onwards, with several changes, like a three-door hatchback and LED twin taillights. In some markets, this generation Matiz was marketed as a Chevrolet Spark. Daewoo Matiz is supplied with adequate braking abilities with tests indicating that front disc/rear drum brakes work well with normal stopping requirements, but the emergency brakes may lock the wheels and their prolonged usage may result in fading of brakes. Similarly, the steering, which might not be the best when it comes to parking, is otherwise good.
Daewoo Matiz is a robust car with a tall upright body and five doors. It is reasonably packed with kit, including air-con, power front windows, central locking, a CD player, a remote release for the fuel flap, a rear hatch, split fold rear seat, wiper and washer, and dual front airbags. Drivers will need to adjust to the left-mounted indicator levels and operational noise when engines are overworked. Fuel consumption is average; don’t expect it to work miracles at higher speeds, especially in a strong crosswind. The car has some minor issues like steering rotation, noise, and harshness levels, but most of them have been dealt with in subsequent versions.
Daewoo Matiz is a practical option for first-time buyers who want a reasonably priced vehicle and aim to use it for urban commuting on a regular basis. Its low price make it appealing, and recent modifications ensure better comfort levels than before.
When it was launched in 1998, Daewoo Matiz was unique in terms of city cars with little competition from automobile giants. In 2005, Toyota Yaris became a tough competitor to Matiz though, with a 4-cylinder, 1299cc capacity engine and a simple strut suspension. Like Matiz, it also offers honest performance and generous equipment. It is definitely quieter than earlier versions of Daewoo Matiz, although costlier than the reasonably priced Matiz. Both cars are fuel-efficient, but it must be noted that the space-saver spare is quite disappointing in the Yaris. The Matiz is definitely better than Holden’s hatchbacks as well as the Hyundai Getz, making it a preferable option for new buyers and urban commuters.