Daewoo Matiz

19 Aug, 2003 6:47pm

With neat Giugiaro styling and clever microcar packaging, Daewoo's Matiz is a fine city car. Ignore the firm's recent turbulent history - it's back on its feet and, after stock shortages earlier this year, parts are once more easily available.

With neat Giugiaro styling and clever microcar packaging, Daewoo's Matiz is a fine city car. Ignore the firm's recent turbulent history - it's back on its feet and, after stock shortages earlier this year, parts are once more easily available.
Buying a Matiz means you get a super value and perfectly competent small car. SE+ models have reasonable kit and reliability is pretty good, if you can live with the average gearbox and lack of refinement at speed.
Checklist
* Engines: engines are tough, but servicing is sometimes overlooked. Check for a full history and avoid models with 70,000 miles or more.
* Drivetrain: examples which went to daily rental fleets may suffer from tyre wear, loose steering, wheel wobble and grinding brakes.
* Doors: the doors are big but insubstantial. Watch for parking dings or scrapes, because replacement units are fairly expensive.
* Cabin: some interior plastics are susceptible to wear. Much of it is purely cosmetic, but the trim panels can warp in hot weather, and switches may work loose.
* Suspension: the ride is always a bit bumpy, but cars that make loud bangs, knocks or rattles, especially from the rear, are likely to be in need of new bushes or dampers gearbox and lack of refinement at speed.
Driving Impressions
As a town car, the Matiz is hard to beat. The engine isn't the last word in performance or refinement, but it is eager and free-revving. Changing gear can't be rushed as the standard five-speed box is a bit rough, but the brakes and steering are sharp.
The cabin isn't wide, but there's a fair amount of legroom for all occupants. And although some of the plastics feel cheap, the car is built to a budget and is certainly no worse than any of its key rivals. Creaks from the suspension are commonplace and don't necessarily point to a problem, but do be wary of any pronounced knocking or banging noises.
Glass's View
Recent troubles within the Daewoo network have hit residual values, but the signs of recovery are starting to filter through. The Matiz is by far the best option in the Daewoo range as far as value retention goes, but no budget brand is ever going to boast super strong resale values. That means a Matiz only works out cheap if you keep it for longer than three years. Supply is fairly good, and the model's main plus point is the number of low-mileage, one-owner examples. Jeff Paterson, Snr Cars Editor, Glass's Guide
Life With A Matiz
I'm a big fan of my Matiz, which is both economical and easy to drive. Going by my model's reliability history, I'd buy another Daewoo, but I don't like the styling of any of its larger offerings. Jane Williams, Newport, Gwent
I replaced my Ford Ka with a Matiz last year. I've had servicing problems and took a hit on the resale value, but otherwise it's a good little car. Neville Gowring, Pershore, Worcs


Verdict

Daewoo has been keen to steer clear of the tall, ungainly stance of vehicles such as the Hyundai Atoz. Access to front and rear is surprisingly easy, although the flexy, ultra-lightweight doors require some force to shut properly. The cabin is pleasant and well laid out, but you only get a speedo and no rev counter. That's a shame, as it's easy to hit the limiter given the engine's willing rasp. Performance doesn't match the motor's initial enthusiasm, though.

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