1996 Daewoo Espero 1.8 CD 1.8 MPi

Summary:

It's not a sports car, a limo or an off-roader - it's a 90s sedan, but it does the job

Faults:

Major repair at 78.000 - replaced belts, various seals etc. Not being performed by myself, I only have a vague idea about the cost - somewhere around EUR 1000.

Exhaust broke at 80.000 - a hole in the final end, in which one could stick a fist. As it made a terrible noise and the hole was too big to be patched, I had it replaced along with the central exhaust, as they were welded (?) together (apparently, the previous owner removed the catalyst) for about 150 EUR (parts 120 + labor 30).

As I took my car out of the shop where I had the exhaust replaced, some "thing" (excuse my technical illiteracy) which connected the gear shifting stick with the rest of the mechanism broke at 80.000, this resulting in not being able to switch to Reverse, first or second gears. Actually, I was able to switch it to Reverse, but the car would still go forward. Apart from being funny for anyone else except for myself, this required the "thing" to be replaced - EUR 30, including labor.

A constant clonking from the front-right wheel, since 87.000 km, whenever going over a bump/hole. I suspect it to be a suspension problem, but I didn't have time to have it fixed yet.

Front tires and rims need constant (every two months or so) checking and adjustments, as my girlfriend has the habit of hitting the curbs while parking the car. I have to admit, it happened to me once as well.

Front lights are total crap - I was driving last night in dense fog and I could only see about 100 meters ahead (and that using the "long-range" lights). As for the "short-range", they're even worse, so night driving is a pretty extreme experience. If anyone has any idea about it, I'd appreciate a clue - I suspect it's about the seals of the lights, which currently allow water vapors to condensate inside the light's body.

Apart from that, just the usual glitches:

- rear window defroster not working, as my girlfriend broke the connector while vacuuming the car;

- electrical windows work whenever and however they may want - some will not open from the passenger controls, some will not close from there. Fortunately, the driver-side controls are still working properly.

- speedometer malfunctions in cold weather: it starts with a ticking noise, which increases with the speed, then it goes crazy (one morning, I had just switched to the third gear and it was showing 120 km/h :|).

- central locking mechanism on passenger side broken, the door never opens properly and it must be opened from inside.

General Comments:

First of all, it's not my car, but my girlfriend's. However, as she moved in with me, I drove it daily for the past six months, to/from work (roughly 60 km round-trip per day) and on several occasional average trips (3-500 km, longest 1.000 km). Hence, I can only provide my recent experiences with the car.

Handling: as the car is really long, wide and heavy, it's very stable. I never ran into any slides or skidding, except for once, when I did a 90-degree turn at 120 km/h, in a torrential rain. As I'm still typing this - and running the Espero -, I managed to get out of that problem without any long-lasting issues - except for a quick dose of adrenaline and a "don't do it again" reminder. It's not a racer, as it wasn't ever intended to be so, but can easily do constantly 130-140 km/h. Maximum speed I got was 160 km/h, but here the speed limit on the highways is 130, so... However, even at high speeds, the car is stable and easy to handle.

Parts: Daewoo parts are pretty cheap, both here (Czech Republic) and in my country of origin (Romania, especially considering Daewoo used to have a factory there). As they went broke, the resale value of their cars decreased dramatically, owners fearing the lack of future support. No such problems yet, as most Opel Astra parts from those years also fit on Daewoos.

Running costs: the car as a LPG installation, so fuel costs are pretty low. As most of the driving is combined (half is in city traffic, half is in highway-like conditions), the average fuel consumption (with A/C running) is about 11 liters per 100 km (or 20 miles per gallon). However, bear in mind that the density of LPG is roughly 10% lower than the one of normal gas, so the mpg for gas would be around 22-24 - pretty normal, I dare say, considering the age and the size of the car.

General look & feel: the inside is very spacious, it can easily accommodate five people. The trunk is huge, even with the LPG tank inside, which takes about 20% of the space.

Reliability: the car has always started - except several (three) occasions: battery dead (twice), girlfriend tried to drive away in the morning, at -10 C, on LPG and without warming up the engine - and never left me stranded.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st January, 2007

5th Jan 2007, 21:52

Did you heard that you couldn't find any more spare parts for daewoo espero??? since daewoo went down in 2003...what can you do if you have to change some spare parts at the engine???

For example 1.8, and so on...

29th Jan 2007, 07:58

Hi, it's me again, the review author.

Concerning the first comment, if you'd have read the review more carefully, you would have noticed the phrase which says something like "most Opel Astra parts from those years fit this engine too". As the engine of the Espero is based on a late 80s design by Opel, I'm not afraid of running out of parts. However, it's a totally different thing when it comes to bodywork - fortunately, I didn't run into such problems (yet).

Updates:

1. The LPG installation decided to stop working one day, when the rpm needle went nuts and started going up (to 3500 RPM) and down (to 1000 RPM) several times, then the car died. I had a hard time restarting it, I finally managed to do it running on normal petrol. I had the spark plugs and cables replaced (around EUR 90, parts + labor), but that didn't help. The same problem occurs over and over again, whenever I'm trying to run on LPG - but never while on normal petrol. Hence, I suspect it to be a problem of the LPG installation, which will be serviced soon. As the LPG installation wasn't factory-standard, but after-market, I can't really blame it on the manufacturer.

2. My girlfriend decided one day that she got sick of the factory-standard radio/cassette player, so she wanted a radio/mp3 player instead. However, the Sony CRX2200 we bought lead us into a different problem, as pre-97 Daewoos have a unique, non-ISO design for the audio & power connector. Finally, I avoided the temptation of ripping off the cables and connecting them to a ISO connector (especially considering the color codes of the wires are Daewoo-standard, not ISO) and bought an adapter, for about EUR 6, which did the job perfectly.

3. I'm happily driving my "new" car - a Lancia Kappa 2.0 20v, made in 1997. The Espero would definitely lose most battles - speed, acceleration, comfort, fuel consumption, but I have yet to check about reliability.

1997 Daewoo Espero CD 1.8

Summary:

A really good car

Faults:

I had to change the front shock absorber and the exhaust.

I had to change the tires (they were really out!).

General Comments:

Because the car is out of production the prices dropped: I got it with 3000 dollars!

A good car with good options.

I got it with A/C, electrical windows, and electrical AM/FM antenna.

Instead, the car audio was poor so I had to spend another 1000 dollars on a cassette player with CD changer and new speakers.

A good engine but a very heavy car, so don't expect sports driving.

Highly comfortable and with a lot of internal space.

I got it because my father owns one and from 1995 the car had no serious problem!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th January, 2002