1996 Daewoo Espero CDXi 2.0 litre injection from UK and Ireland


I have found the car very easy to maintain. It is in my opinion without a doubt the best value secon


Sunroof Leaked, just after I acquired the car. 87,400 miles.

In the course of normal servicing when I first acquired the car, I replaced the timing belts etc, for piece of mind rather than anything else.

Exhaust fixing missing, I knew was not present before my purchase, so needed replacement straight away.

The Philips CD auto-changer had a minor fault with the head unit, which was due to the intermittent volume control (tarnished contacts). I replaced this myself, as I am an electronics engineer.

General Comments:

I bought a 1996 Daewoo Espero CDXi second hand in the UK for 850 pounds, with a full MOT, and six months road fund license.

The bodywork is immaculate; the only rust on the car was strangely on the windscreen wiper arms, and simply required removal, cleaning, and a spray of paint, job done. (Took about an hour to complete.)

I average between 33 to 38 mpg, which I think is good for a car of the size.

In my opinion the car is as comfortable as most mid range modern cars.

In winter the engine seems to run very cool even after replacing thermostat.

I have had a brand new Astra Estate, on a three-year lease before my purchase, and I enjoy the Espero far more than I did the Astra.

Coming from the new shape Astra to the Espero you don't notice until you get into the drivers seat, but the windscreen is much more restrictive, and driving position initially feels claustrophobic. Having said this, my initial reaction to the Astra and Focus was that you felt as though you were seated too high, and you soon get used to it.

Although the car is very well equipped, the switchgear does not feel as though it was made to be as durable as the rest of the car.

The car is quite sure footed, and handles very well for a larger saloon.

The Espero is not a sports car, and does not pretend to be one, but it has enough get up and go to overtake safely, and ample performance for a car of its size to not be boring.

Although fully loaded its not got the same build as a prestige manufacture, nor does it cost the money.

The boot is huge, although you could fit a lot into it, if the object is much larger than 3 feet in height and depth and over 3 feet in width, you may have a job fitting it through the boot's aperture.

The only thing I really missed when I changed car, (and this is a bit sad,) was the remote control for the central locking.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th May, 2004

1996 Daewoo Espero CDXi 2.0 EFI from UK and Ireland


Aint good looking, but it's reliable and comfortable


Electric window motor (not replaced, too expensive)

Rotor coil caused jerkiness and bad starting (£50 including fitting from local mechanic)

Driver seat collapsed a bit. Welded and rivetted this myself.

Boot gets damp, but cannot find where water comes in?

Sunroof can be leaky if rubber seal not cleaned regularly.

Air con squeals like a bansee sometimes (Not the belt, but the electro-magnetic clutch on the alternator)

The bonnet wouldn't open; the cable retaining bolt had loosened (in the engine compartment) The Daewoo dealer wanted to charge £50 just to open it and another £50 + parts and VAT to fix it, hah no way!

Slight steering fluid leak, caused by corroded cooling pipe in front of radiator, I replaced the pipe myself.

General Comments:

Despite the listed faults, I found this car very reliable, in 3 years it has only let me down once, my fault for neglecting signs of the rotor coil beginning to fail, which initially causes jerkiness at low revs.

I do my own servicing, change the oil about once per year and lubricate the usual things, the car has sailed through MOT's.

The electrics need maintenance on this model, I use switch cleaner or wd40 to lubricate the switches, this stops most of the problems with intermittent/dead electrics.

The air con is great, but severely affects the performance of the car, turn it on and acceleration is 50% less. The electric windows and mirrors are prone to problems, again preventative maintenance helps.

The front, passenger, door window motor failed completely, after 2 weeks of ownership, it's not easy to replace and Daewoo Dealers wanted £150 just for the part. I can't be bothered to mess with the window mechanism, it's all rivetted on and runs on wire and pulleys, eeuuch. I never did fix that!

Performance is adequate, third gear has especially long legs and good torque, so you can pull quickly from 20 to 70 MPH, the best acceleration is in the mid band at about 40-65, just where you need it.

Top speed is surprising, as witnessed by a disguised police speed camera van, which clocked me at 98 MPH on a clear Dual-carriageway, one sunny morning, I was slowing down, saw it too late damnit.

The ABS brakes are excellent, you can use them to get around dodgy corners and roundabouts when the car understeers; yes the car has a habit of understeering, but not in a scary way, very predicable.

Being front-wheel drive, it's no good hitting the throttle too hard from stand-still, as that's what you do (stand still) with rubber burning off the tires. But once moving you can quickly accelerate up to 30 mph (when nipping out in between traffic)

Things to watch out for.

Bulkhead: Has a weakness, "MAY" split, this was a recall by Daewoo, they will fix it for free: To see why it may split, get someone to turn the steering wheel back and fore while you look at the brake servo, attached to the bulkhead, it moves an inch or so either way, this is because the steering rack is attached to the bulkhead and the bulkhead is weak, so it may cause splitting of the seams. Mines OK, but I keep an eye on it!

Watch for signs of oil on front of engine manifold, or a slight smell of burning oil. A 3" hose from the Cam cover to an exchange pipe, takes oil back to the sump, it will rot or tear. Mine split and oil dumped onto the manifold, causing a real stink and lots of smoke, thought the car was on fire. Cost me £4 from a hydraulic pipe specialist.

Rust spots and stone chips can quickly bubble up and will hole the bodywork if not treated!

The car seems to run cool when cruising on the motorway, especially in the winter; I changed the thermostat, but it made little difference, maybe a bit of rad blanking would help, seems the cooling system is a little too efficient!

Overall a very comfortable car that drives well, is fully loaded, including a 6 CD changer and electric sunroof etc. The car is easy to maintain, nothing too complicated (except the window winding mechanism)

I drive it to work every day, it's a 5-10 minute journey, in the winter, when it's dark on the way in and on the way back; you'd think the car would kill the battery, but no, as long as you maintain it properly it's fine!

I am about to sell this car, we have a baby now, we need a bigger car for the runs up the motorway to visit relatives on a few weekends a year. I'm getting a Volvo 850/V70 Estate in the next few days, I know it makes sense, but I think I'll miss the Daewoo, at least for a day or so heh!


Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th February, 2004

8th Nov 2005, 13:03

Hi you talked about the bulkhead failure and that it was a recall? mine has fallen of and they say there was no recall. I tried to bye the mounting area as it is only spot welded and bolted and they told me it only comes with a new body shell. any ideas!

26th Nov 2005, 06:56

Can anyone who has had this bulkhead problem email me at mr.plum48@ntlworld.com.

25th Nov 2008, 10:49

Does any one know where in the UK I can get my Daewoo Espero sunroof fixed, cause it leaks, and can I get a left hand dash board for the car?