Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book
KBB.com 2002 Daewoo Lanos Overview
An Economy Car Worth Not Overlooking
The Koreans are quickly gaining a reputation for producing reliable, well-built little cars with low sticker prices and a high content value. In a world where $18K price tags are considered "entry level" by some manufacture's, the Daewoo Lanos is a perfect example of how to have your cake and eat it too! Available as either a 4-door sedan or 3-door hatchback, the Lanos' most eye-catching feature is its base price that begins below $10K.
The compact Lanos is sized to compete with cars like the Hyundai Accent and Suzuki Esteem. It can rival (and in some cases even beat) its competition in the area of interior headroom, legroom and shoulder room. The Lanos does pull up a bit short when it comes to its trunk volume, but that's only on the sedan; the large rear hatch on the 3-door model coupled with its folding rear seats provide ample storage space, so long as you don't have to include two additional persons in the back seat. The Lanos' seats are also full of pleasant surprises, with a level of contour and comfort not usually found in this price range. You may find the dash design is a bit on the generic side, but then again, this is an economy car and the dash is functional and easy to read.
If you have an extra couple of grand to spend, you should consider the Lanos Sport, which is available only as a hatchback. This package adds a host of standard features including air conditioning, power steering, rear defroster, dual-remote power mirrors, three-in-one AM/FM cassette CD stereo, leather seats, leather steering wheel, 14-inch alloy wheels, power windows and power door locks. That's a lot of content for under $14K and the cute little hatchback has a certain charm all its own. It's the perfect vehicle for college kids, first-time car buyers and people looking for a fuel-efficient second car.
Speaking of fuel efficiency, the Lanos is a champ in the area of miles per gallon, with an EPA highway fuel rating of 35 miles per gallon (with the 5-speed manual). A 1.6-liter engine that produces 105 horsepower powers the Lanos. Though that might not seem like a lot of power, the Lanos is a very light car, so it doesn't need much to get it around. The engine itself is a bit coarse and makes itself known at highway speeds. The 5-speed manual also feels like its mechanicals might be a few decades off, with long throws and a rubbery feeling that makes finding the right gear a not-so-certain event. The optional automatic actually works better on this car, though you will lose a few miles per gallon in city driving. The suspension on the Lanos is pleasingly well balanced. It handles twisting roads with confidence and delivers a fairly smooth ride, though its skinny tires do squeal when pushed hard and have a nasty tendency to follow deep grooves in the road. But tires can be upgraded and we think with a nice set of aftermarket 15-inch alloys and performance tires, the Lanos might be a pretty fun car to drive.
The unknown variable with the Daewoo Lanos is its long-term reliability. The company has only been in the market for three years now, so it is difficult to say how the cars will hold up. Daewoo does not offer a long-term warranty like rival Hyundai, opting instead for the standard 3-year/36,000 mile variety. The future of the company is also up in the air, though it's a good bet that General Motors will end up becoming Daewoo's parent company. If this should happen, any fears of not being able to find parts—or dealerships for that matter —should not be a problem.