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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For This no-frills mid-sized MPV is cheaper than rivals from Citroen and Renault

Against Only five seats and petrol engines available; boot room is limited with the seats up

Verdict The Tacuma does a fair job for a fair price, but there’s nothing special about it

Go for… 2.0 CDX

Avoid… 1.6 SX

Chevrolet Tacuma MPV
  • 1. The quality of the interior plastics isn’t great; look out for rattles in the dash
  • 2. The Tacuma offers decent room for all on board
  • 3. The larger 2.0-litre petrol is the best engine in the range
  • 4. New fuel pipes were fitted to some cars in 2003 - check this has been done to any you consider
  • 5. Check that recall work to the brake pipes has been completed
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Chevrolet Tacuma MPV full review with expert trade views

If it’s just a five-seater you’re after, the Tacuma offers decent room for all on board. While the boot’s not huge, the three rear seats can be removed in all except the entry-level version, leaving more than enough room for your Louis Vuitton trunks. There’s lots of storage around the cabin, too, and drawers under the front seats.

Overall, in fact, the cabin's a model of good design. The dash is neat and well laid out, with the controls in easy reach. Only the stereo’s small buttons disappoint, while the thick rear pillars leave tiny side windows in the boot and limit visibility. This can make reversing around corners more nerve-wracking than it needs to be.

Mind you, if a sporty drive and sophisticated handling are high on your list of priorities, this is probably not the car for you; the stiff suspension prevents body roll in corners, but the resulting firm ride can make town journeys less comfortable.

Refinement is acceptable with either engine, but you’ll hear some wind noise when on the move.

Trade view

John Owen

Great-value Scenic clone

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

The best Tacuma has the larger 2.0-litre petrol engine. With 119bhp, it’s no racer, but it has plenty of pull from low revs. It’s also available with a rather lumpy optional automatic gearbox.

The range also includes a 103bhp 1.6-litre petrol. It’s eager to rev and flexible enough, but with five people on board and their luggage, it’s a different story.

The 1.6 comes in SX trim, which includes electric windows, air-conditioning, metallic paint and remote central locking, as well as wheel-mounted audio controls.

CDX, the only trim available with our favourite 2.0-litre engine, adds climate control and alloys, as well as seat-back tables.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Not around in huge numbers, 1.6 SX is the value buy

James Ruppert
Used car guru

A Tacuma shouldn’t be too costly to run. Average fuel economy of 35.3mpg for the 1.6 and 32.8mpg for the 2.0 isn’t stunning - but falls only slightly short of a comparable Renault Scenic or Citroen Picasso, two key rivals. The Tacuma is much cheaper to buy, although there’s no diesel option.

Servicing costs might sting, and of its nearest rivals, only the Kia Carens is more expensive. The 1.6-litre Tacuma sits in group 8 for insurance, the 2.0 in group 10, which is standard for the class. Only the Renault, with its five-star crash test rating, outsmarts all its rivals with much lower insurance ratings.

Reliability data from Warranty Direct suggests that, as a manufacturer, Daewoo (as this Chevrolet was originally branded before 2005) is slightly more reliable than average, and repair costs reasonable.

If you’re buying a car under three years old, you can enjoy the remainder of the three years’ free servicing offer, and a solid warranty.

Trade view

John Owen

Great-value Scenic clone

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

As a rule, the Tacuma shouldn’t cause you too many problems - it’s as unexceptional in this area as it is to drive. Plus, the free servicing offer should mean that there’s a good chance of getting one with a full service history.

Potential buyers should be aware that nearly 6000 cars were recalled in 2002 to tackle possible cracks developing in the brake pipes and leaking hydraulic fluid - ensure that this was carried out. In 2003, some cars had new fuel feed pipes fitted.

The quality of the interior plastics isn’t great, either, so look out for rattles in the dash. If you’ll need to remove the parcel shelf frequently, be aware that you’ll have to fold the seats forward every time, which is irritating.

Overall, Tacuma owners are not the happiest bunch, In previous JD Power customer satisfaction surveys, the Tacuma hasn’t shone, finishing well down the results table. Some owners felt the car didn’t offer enough performance; however the dealer service and cheap servicing redeemed it.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Not around in huge numbers, 1.6 SX is the value buy

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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