Fleet News

Daewoo Nubira

Review

The drawn-out process that eventually saw the company brought under the General Motors banner ended in October last year, and it is in the process of rebuilding its model range.

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GM Daewoo, the new company, launched the Kalos supermini at the end of 2002, with more engine variants added to the range this year, and the first new Nubira is now on sale.

The Nubira is currently being offered as a four-door saloon and, like the previous Nubira, an estate will follow by the end of the year.

In due course, customers will also be able to choose a sleek five-door hatchback so Daewoo will have all the volume bases covered in the lower-medium sector. The Nubira goes on sale initially with two engine variants – 1.6 litre and 1.8-litre – but customers will have to wait a couple of years before diesels become available.

However, when they arrive, they will be the latest common rail units developed under the GM-Fiat alliance.

GM Daewoo's sales strategy with the new car expects typical customers to be looking not for the cheapest car in the sector, but one that offers value for money. The company also believes some small businesses will be attracted by high specification for the price and Daewoo's 'peace of mind' ownership package, as well as user choosers taking cash instead of a company car.

GM Daewoo wants to expand its network of retailers in the UK (many of which will already own franchises for sister GM brands Vauxhall or Saab). Managing director Andy Carroll said: 'We aim to set up a network of around 100 partners and not overburden them by setting over-expensive standards. Our advantage lies in offering customers good products at reasonable prices and providing our retailers with realistic money-earning opportunities.'

One of the side-effects of ditching the previous direct sales network in favour of franchise dealers has been the loss of the haggle-free price. However, it does mean that for the small business buying a few cars, there may be scope for negotiating a discount.

Behind the wheel

DAEWOO has often managed to come up trumps in the styling stakes in the past. The Matiz has the endearing cuteness essential in small cars, along with five-door practicality, while the now-defunct Daewoo Leganza always looked like something more upmarket.

Giorgetto Giugaro's ItalDesign studio penned both of these cars, and was responsible for the new look for the Nubira.

Apart from the bold three-piece grille, the styling is neat and attractive, with a hint of Vauxhall Astra about the front end.

The interior is typical of other Daewoos – mostly sturdy plastics that feel neither cheap nor expensive, grey fabric seats and dubious-looking fake wood on top models. However, there is some use of aluminium-effect trim on the centre console and in the instrument binnacle, and the whole ensemble works well.

The first thing I noticed about the new Nubira was how much better the car suppresses noise than the previous model. Although the engines aren't much different, they seem much quieter than before.

Performance in the 1.8-litre feels sprightly, although the car is designed more for comfort than driver appeal. The soft ride ensures it remains comfortable over poor surfaces, but pitches, dives and rolls when subjected to sudden direction changes. However, people who just want their cars to get them from A to B will not be disappointed with the Nubira.

Driving verdict

THE Nubira appears good value at the front end when compared to other lower-medium saloons, and provides comfortable, uncomplicated transport.

Daewoo Nubira
Model 1.6 1.8
Engine (cc): 1,598 1,799
Max power (bhp/rpm): 108/5,800 121/5,800
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 111/4,000 122/4,000
Max speed (mph): 116 121 (auto: 114)
0-62mph (secs): 10.7 9.5 (10.7)
Fuel consumption (mpg): 39.8 37.7 (31.0)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 178 183 (218)
Fuel tank capacity (l/gal): 60/13.2
Service interval (miles): 12,000
Transmission: 5-sp man, optional 4-sp man auto (1.8)
On sale: Now
Prices (OTR): £10,995 - £11,995

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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