Daewoo Kalos

2 Jul, 2002 5:53pm Charlie Chae

It's name might mean 'beautiful' in Greek, but whether you think the Daewoo Kalos is the looker we were shown at the Geneva Motor Show back in March is open to debate.

Verdict

The Kalos is a brave attempt by Daewoo to tackle the likes of current class leaders the Ford Fiesta and Peugeot 206. Quality is much better than on the firm's previous models, but before the car arrives in the UK, we hope the handling is improved and the styling given a spicier flavour.
It's name might mean 'beautiful' in Greek, but whether you think the Daewoo Kalos is the looker we were shown at the Geneva Motor Show back in March is open to debate.

Since we first laid eyes on the pint-sized machine, designers have been hard at work on it. As a result, the newcomer loses its aggressive styling, thanks to revisions to the headlamps, grille and front spoiler. Meanwhile, the rear passenger doors have been reworked, too, altering the car's frame.

But what's this new supermini like behind the wheel? Auto Express got the keys to an early LHD version of the Kalos for an exclusive first drive - and this offers a useful insight into what we can expect to appear here towards the end of the year. Powered by a 1.5-litre engine providing 85bhp and 131Nm of torque, the car is rapid enough and gets from A to B in quiet comfort.

Economy figures are yet to be re-leased, but with relatively small engine sizes available - a 1.2-litre and a 1.4-litre will also be offered - combined with a weight of merely 1,005kg, the Kalos should prove no gas-guzzler. Styling changes aside, our only criticism concerns the ride. The centre of gravity on our car felt too high, and so it swayed on twisty roads.

Thankfully, the cabin is an improvement in build over previous Daewoos, and headroom is good despite seats which feel a little higher than a conventional small car's. There are also neat storage places and a picnic table set in the back of the front passenger seat.

Prices and UK spec will be revealed closer to the Kalos's arrival, but early indications suggest the entry-level version will cost around �7,500 - undercutting rivals by �1,000.

Key specs

* New Daewoo out later this year, powered by 85bhp 1.5-litre engine
* Also likely to be offered are 1.2-litre and 1.4-litre petrol units
* Four-speed automatic gearbox to be available as optional extra

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