2002 Daewoo Nubira CDX Series II 2.0 Litre petrol from Australia and New Zealand
Not quite brilliant, but very much so competent
Timing belt and pre-tensioner needs to be changed every 60,000K's... So at 125,000 I thought it was best to change it straight away after buying it. $530.
Ignition leads melted through and caused the engine to stutter and miss-fire at 135,000 k's. $90.
Air-conditioner compressor blew a pressure valve and needed complete replacement at 145,000 k's. Brand new they were $1000 fitted and re gassed. I had a second hand one put in at a Korean spares specialist, cost me $500 including the re gas and 30,000 K warranty.
Interior plastic door handles are flimsy and brake easily, around $25 each to replace.
Head lights have faded to a yellow colour, can buff em up every wash with Bi-carb to get them clear again.
Rocker gasket leak at 153,000 K's. $160 to replace.
These cars get a bad rap from the general public, mostly those who have no idea what they really are or haven't driven one. Let's start by a brief run down on their mechanicals.
Firstly, before Daewoo was part of GM, it purchased its engines from their Opel and Holden divisions in Belgium and Australia respectively. The 1.6 litre lurking under the hood of early Nubira series I's is the same Family II engine found in the Holden/Opel TR Astra. Same goes for the 2 litre in the series II. It's identical to what was used in the JR Vectra, and is manufactured at Holden's Melbourne engine plant in Australia. So before you go dreading the worst as far as engine failure is concerned, you can breathe a little easier. It's basically the same engine found in the last series Camira in the late 1980's, with a few performance updates since then. The gear box and other running gear components are fully interchangeable with Holdens E-Tec 2 litre found in the Vectra. Unfortunately, both Daewoo's and GM models using these engines have to replace the timing belt at 60,000 K's instead of 90 or 100... This is due to a failure of the belt pre-tensioner at this point in time. Keep them maintained, and they will be virtually hassle free.
They sounds grumpy and thrashy when you push them, and they whine a little at low speeds and idle, but the Nubira engine should never tick, and the dip stick should not have nicotine like tar on it at any stage. This shows skipped oil changes and a myriad of engine repairs in the not too distant future.
Coach work on the body and interior is fair, they are a budget model after all. The paintwork doesn't age well, so buy a white one and you'll be right :)
They do tend to wander a little at high speeds, due to their wallowy suspension, however a good set of tyres and upgraded 15 inch wheels helps a bunch.
I had my doubts when I bought her, but to be completely honest, she's never let me down. She's a little awkward to look at, but she runs as well as the day she left South Korea, and I intend to keep her that way until she finally dies :)
Don't feel put off by their reputation, Daewoo's aren't bad things to drive. The new Holden and Chevrolet Cruze is something to be proud of; manufactured by Daewoo, it is GM's world class small car. They do the job they were intended and they don't complain too much. Can't argue with that :)
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 11th May, 2011