2007 Chevrolet Optra LS 2.0 liter from North America
Exciting yet modest
The car was great for $2000. It was a rust bucket with a good engine. I dropped her into 4th on the hwy and it blew the clutch to pieces. Drove her 30 more clicks to a better location and lost all drive train function. Towed it to a garage, found out it would cost some $800 to repair and decided to go car shopping.
The 2007 LS sold me on its simplicity and price. I couldn't seem to find a decently simple car for under $18000 (CAD) without taxes in the other dealerships. The GM dealership was off-loading some 2006's for $14000. I made a few phone calls with well placed connections and found a 2007 Optra 2007 for a little more with 2.4% financing. With the GM perqs, I got a great deal on the car, low monthly payments (less than $300) and drove off the lot that day.
Performance wise: it's like my old Corolla. I like the Corolla for its simple manual drive. Nothing too powerful or glitzy, just functional and well built. I'm not sure about the quality of the Optra yet, but am tired of hearing about the Japanese quality. I've owned a Chevy Sprint, Eagle Vista, Corolla and now an Optra. The Sprint outlasted the others by 130,000 kms. I think a well maintained GM will get good kms. So, I'm taking a chance. But really what choice do I have? The domestics are cheaper.
The acceleration is stronger than my 1.5 liter Corolla, but lags a bit in lower rpms. Once I realized this, I would keep the rpms high during acceleration and had no problem blowing people off the line. The car is quiet when it's popped out of gear and coasting (something I enjoy). The suspension is stiffer than the other cars I've owned. The interior is nothing special, but the fabric on the seats is cool. The aux/in will come in handy for road trips where the laptop plays movies for the kids. The space is much larger than the Aveo (better for fam on a budget). The hatchback trunk is larger too, by quite a bit. I can fold down both seats for a cargo area, but haven't done it yet. The seats are multi-adjustable, which is a first for me in lower priced cars. I LOVE the sound system. Not sure what they did, but 94.5 out of Vancouver sounds truly spacious, huge and textured. It might be the tweeters in the doors at chest level. The pick up is good in any gear, so I actually feel comfortable riding at 2000 rpm in 4th. The clutch it very deep, in the sense of having to push it far down, like a school bus, to disengage. It was annoying at first, but then my foot adjusted somehow and now I don't notice it. The stick requires more movement than I prefer, but is comfortable to the hand and engages well in higher rpm gear changing. The look is perfect: unassuming, but sporty and small; my favourite image. Rims rock too. The all disc brakes are exceedingly smooth. The windshield wipers make no noise.
All in all, I think it's the best buy for the littlest money for a car of its type and year, though I didn't conduct an exhaustive search.
I'm not sure about the fuel economy yet, but hope that my method of driving will return at least 40 mpg in the city, while it's rated just under 30. The hwy is much higher at 40, and it's hard to drive efficiently to get higher hwy miles than the rated miles.
Time will tell me how I like this car, but first impressions leave me feeling happy I threw just under $15000 GM's way.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 25th February, 2007
If your GPS is not military spec, I don't think it is that accurate.
A note on your piece about people talking about Japanese reliability... Its kind of funny people are stuck on stuff like that in this increasingly globalized world.
The Optra is actually a South Korean car sourced from GM Daewoo (its name in this market is Lacetti). Like the Aveo/ (Pontiac) Wave/ (Suzuki) Swift and Epica (Daewoo Magnus/Suzuki Verona), GM North America just imports them and slaps their logo on.
So, your car is actually Korean in design. This division sometimes borrows from the Holden (GM Australia) parts bin, and lots of Daewoos are sold as Holdens there. To stir it up, some design work is outsourced to firms around the world. A prominent example is the straight-six engine in the Epica was designed by Porsche.
I bought myself an 2004 Optra and it's a pretty good car. No problem at all for now and it's a really comfortable ride. There might just be a little problem it seems sometime when I start the engine, accelerate then put my speed shift to N at a stop, my RPM is getting stuck at 2500-3000 RPM. Then it drop out slowly but it takes like 12 seconds to fall out completely.
Do you have any idea what it is?