Fleet News

Daewoo Leganza 2.0 CDX - 7,877 miles


##daeleg.jpg --Right##THE men from Daewoo came to pick up our long term test Leganza the other week and fixed the electrical problems that had left our previous tester unable to start the car a few days previously - and promptly restored it to us in pristine condition. I must admit here and now that of all the cars on our fleet, the Leganza isn't the first I would choose to drive - in fact it is probably about the last. The reason? I have a penchant for speed and 'enthusiastic' cornering and the Leganza is noted for neither of these attributes. However, after two weeks with the car, I am beginning to re-assess my opinions.

I would even go so far as to say that I am beginning to like the Leganza and even forgive it for its shortcomings in the handling department, such are its other fine points. For starters, ignoring the garish, tacky-looking grille, I think the Leganza is a classy, executive- looking car. Inside, it is voluminous and has noticeably more legroom than rivals such as the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Vectra. I don't even have a problem with the plastic wood inserts that abound, although some hacks get into a right old lather about them.

The Leganza is, in effect, an executive size car for an upper medium price. And spec? There are more goodies than you could shake a stick at, including leather seats (electric on driver's side), air conditioning, ABS brakes, traction control, a CD player and the usual array of airbags, electric sunroof and mirrors. The cost has dropped, too, from ú15,325 OTR to ú13,495 so for the price, I doubt whether any other manufacturer can beat this level of opulence.

And how does the car fare on the road? Not badly and certainly better than I had anticipated. The clutch action is ultra light and the gearchanging smooth and sure. The 2.0-litre powerplant is lively enough for a big car, taking it from 0-60mph in 10.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 128mph - not that I would fancy travelling at that sort of speed in this car. However, the power steering set-up is way too light and doesn't give the driver any 'feel' for the road. This leads to a vagueness on the corners, which doesn't help when trying to take them at speed, resulting in a wallowing sort of pitch and roll. I have, however, discovered a simple method of correcting this problem - I just take the bends at a lower speed!

Putting myself in a fleet manager's shoes, my main problem with having this car on my fleet - or indeed any Daewoo - would be the uncertainty over the future of the company. At present the giant Daewoo empire lies in tatters, owing around 20 billion dollars and although it seems pretty certain that the car brand will survive, it is by no means certain what form it will take in the future.

Present residual value predictions for three years/60,000 miles are 27% of cost new, but that price could fall even lower if, say, Daewoo was eaten up by another manufacturer. Bearing in mind your company will have to swallow this loss if the car is bought outright, I'd advise that if you really want Daewoos on your choice list, get them on contract hire and let someone else sweat about the losses.

Trevor Gelken

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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