2004 Daewoo Matiz E 0.8i from Romania
Very reliable, cheap to buy and run, but with spartan interior and marginal safety
The upper rubber seal of the front right door ripped after a few months. Replaced under warranty, and again started to rupture after the warranty ended.
Spark plugs and cables replaced at around 30.000 km - not surprising considering the car is always driven on short distances, only 5-20 km daily.
After 5 years since being built, corrosion began to creep inside the lower side of the doors, on the rear wheel arches and in the boot; the car lacks suitable rust protection, and the metal is very thin, would puncture easily if rust is not dealt with soon.
Mechanically it works very well, extremely reliable, low fuel consumption. The engine always starts, even at the lowest temperatures, and it will take lower quality fuel without a hiccup.
The plastic inside is very rough and scratches easily, seats have mediocre ergonomics (but still better than a C1, Aygo and the likes). Inside it has a lot of headroom, even the tallest people can fit, and generally it has more room than other small cars.
In the city, the handling is brilliant. The small 3 piston engine revs, roars and accelerates like a much larger one. However if it's fully loaded, performance decreases dramatically. The car is good for 1-2 people plus a bag of groceries.
Outside the city, at high speeds (70-100 km/h) and in corners, the handling is poor, and the car doesn't have a lot of stability.
Being the economic model, it is "naked": no airbags, no ABS. The interior is spartan - no radio, no clock, nothing. But at 4400 euros when new, it was a bargain, and works very well in its role: in the city, with light loads.
Remarkably reliable, but the bodywork's poor corrosion treatment lets it down.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 23rd September, 2011
Original poster here.
Looks like I got ahead of myself praising its reliability. Last year, at about 45,000 km, some electrical wire bundle got exposed due to constant rubbing against the engine, causing misfires and uneven engine running. Got it fixed with tape, as a new cable bundle cost was prohibitive.
A month ago, at 48,000 km, one of the fuel injectors failed and had to be replaced. The original one was made mainly from plastic, so couldn't be cleaned.