The car is a great drive and has a great exterior, but the interior is unimpressive
Chevrolet's latest Lacetti surprises and disappoints in equal measure. The car looks and feels well built, yet the quality of the interior detailing is awful. Out on the road, the ride is good, but the gearbox is also terrible - struggling through the ratios is just no fun. Clearly, the firm still has a way to go before it can match class favourites like the Vauxhall Astra. Yet this is a promising beginning, and it is great value for money.
Cash is still king in the family car market, where value for money is prized and every last penny counts.
But does that make the £9,795 entry-level Chevrolet Lacetti 1.4 SE a must-have? It's certainly competitively priced and, with its smart exterior and neat cabin, looks a serious contender in this demanding sector.
Launched as a Daewoo in 2004, this latest Lacetti also shows how far the firm has grown since it was taken over and rebranded by GM in 2005.
Colour-coded body parts create a more upmarket image. Factor in cost options like alloy wheels and metallic paint, and it makes an impressive bid for attention next to pricier rivals.
The doors open and close with a satisfying clunk, and while the driving position is let down by seats that are short on support, the cabin is reasonably spacious. Sadly, the promising start is spoiled by the cheap dash and thin-rimmed wheel. Models half this price offer a more desirable cabin.
Out on the road, impressions are mixed. Refinement is reasonable, but wind and engine noise are a problem when cruising quickly. And while the 1.4-litre engine revs happily, it lacks torque. Still, the ride is good. Clearly, Chevrolet is taking notice of rivals like Proton's Lotus-tuned Satria Neo.
However, the whole car is undermined by its gearbox, which is not only imprecise, but feels heavy and reluctant, too. The 1.4-litre engine has no automatic option, either.
Finally, we couldn't help but notice CO2 emissions for the 1.4-litre model are high, with the engine putting out 171g/km. That's enough to place this Lacetti in tax Band E - and ironically, will make the car expensive to run.