Product Type: Daewoo cars
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Daewoo Matiz SE Plus 5-door
Member Name: honest_ed
Daewoo Matiz SE Plus 5-door
Date: 13/01/02, updated on 13/01/02 (998 review reads)
Advantages: Costs, Dealer package, Fun
Disadvantages: Gear change, Underpowered
Our Daewoo Matiz is 2 years old today. The car is used mainly by my wife for school runs with our two children and travel within the city, with the occasional longer trip and sits in the driveway alongside our family Mazda 626.
We didn’t set out to become a Daewoo-owning family, but when our 12 year old Toyota ground to a halt, we began scurrying around the local dealers for a replacement. Our criteria were straightforward: small city car; cheap to buy and run; comfortable enough; central locking and power steering. We tried models from VW, Seat, Citroen, Nissan, Mazda and Toyota. Of these, the Toyota Yaris stood out in a class of its own and we were put off buying only by the fact that all the financial deals available seemed to reward the dealer unduly.
We tried the Daewoo dealer last, our curiosity spurred mainly by positive reports on the Matiz in the auto-press. (That was before I found Dooyoo of course!). We had a short test drive and were impressed, but opted to take a demonstrator home over the week-end for a proper assessment. I had never done this before, but now I would not even think about buying on the basis of a couple of miles around the block accompanied by a hyperactive salesperson. The consensus was that the Matiz was not as good an all-round proposition as the Yaris, but we scored it well ahead of the rest of the pack. The discussion with the courteous and informative Daewoo salesperson sealed the decision. The now legendary Daewoo package which included 3 years servicing was exactly what we needed and we ordered our silver Matiz SE plus.
So what’s the verdict after 2 years and 14,000 miles? Against expectations, I just love this car, a view shared by my wife and both children. Even I struggle to make sense of this. On paper, the Matiz looks as if it would be a motorists nightmare. Just 800cc with 50bhp of buzzy power struggling to propel the car to 60 mph in over 17 seconds is not exactly a
recipe for adventure. But it feels good behind the wheel of this motor. The interior is roomy for a car of its dimensions - I still can’t quite work out how the designers have managed this - and the seats are supportive and comfortable. The driving position feels higher than the laws of physics suggest it should, with the large raked windscreen giving you a sense of really being in command. I’ve found the height of the seat to be a bonus as I’m carrying and old motor-bike injury and find it awkward enough getting in and out of cars, but the Daewoo makes this easy. Visibility all-round is excellent and this, combined with the diminutive dimensions makes parking and reversing simple. Fittings and switch-gear look and feel a bit flimsy, although we haven’t had any problems, and the boot is tiny, compensated to some extent by split/fold rear seats. The SE plus version is fairly well-equipped with central-locking, power-steering and driver/passenger airbags as standard and air-con as a reasonably-priced option. The RDS stereo is not the best available, but far from the worst.
On the road, the Matiz does not feel sluggish. I have had no problem keeping up with traffic both in town and on longer trips, including motorways, although safe overtaking needs very careful planning. The suspension is a little bit on the bouncy side, although this seems to help the tiny tyres to soak up rough surfaces. Anything beyond a small bump on the road though and you feel it with a vengeance. The major irritation is the gear-change. It’s fine going up through the 5-speed gate, but trying to get into second gear on the way down requires a brutal shove if you’re moving faster than 5mph. This has not worsened over the two years, but nor has it showed any signs of loosening up with age. Fuel consumption is good - we are getting 40-45 mpg regularly and group 2 insurance will not break the bank.
So far, the only real faul
t we have experienced was a temporary failure on the central locking which appears to have rectified itself. This is potentially dangerous if you have young children as it would not allow one of the doors to open from the inside, but the dealer has ordered a new system for us.
I would definitely recommend this car. It’s fun to drive, cheap to run and has bucket loads of charm. But I would advise you to try-before-you-buy and make sure you fully appreciate the car’s limitations.
As for image? My older daughter is 15 now and has asked that we keep the Matiz long enough for her to learn to drive in it. If you knew how ultra-cool my daughter is, then this is probably the highest recommendation Daewoo could ever receive!