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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For The Kalos has a comfortable ride, and there's plenty of room for four people

Against It's dull to drive and the cabin plastics feel low-rent. The steering is uncommunicative, too.

Verdict It's a reasonable car, but other rivals provide more for similar money

Go for… 1.4 16v SX

Avoid… 1.4 8v

Daewoo Kalos Hatchback
  • 1. Refinement is a problem: the engines can be breathless and raucous
  • 2. Check for signs (like excessive tyre wear) that the front wheels have been knocked out of alignment. Some owners say it happens all too easily
  • 3. Check for trouble with the clutch. A few problems have been reported
  • 4. Keen drivers won't enjoy the Kalos. The steering is light and uncommunicative
  • 5. Of the various engines, the 1.4-litre 16v is the one to choose
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Daewoo Kalos Hatchback full review with expert trade views

The Kalos isn’t a bad car, far from it in fact. It's just that there are many more able cars out there that provide more talent and better value for similar, or even less, money.

Among its strengths are its good ride, which soaks up most bumps very effectively. It's reasonably spacious, too, pretty well equipped towards the top of the range and wind and road noise are kept to a minimum.

However, the car doesn't like being chucked into a corner, with body roll and tyre squeal being all too evident. The engines can be breathless and raucous, as well, while the steering is light and uncommunicative, and the cabin is drab.

In short, it does all the major stuff with a reasonable amount of competence, but it doesn't excel in any area; not worthy of a detention but short on house points.

Trade view

John Owen

Cheap as chips, but too much vinegar

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

There are three trim levels to choose from: S, SE and SX. The base S trim is available only with the 1.2 engine and gives you no more than a passable amount of kit including central locking, electric front windows and anti-lock brakes.

SE trim adds remote central locking and side airbags, whereas we prefer SX trim, which does much better: air-con, electric rear windows and a CD player are all provided.

The Kalos has had three engines during its life. The basic 70bhp 1.2 potters along very nicely and cruises well, but it's slow. There are also two versions of the 1.4-litre unit: an eight-valve with 83bhp and a 16-valve with 92bhp. In both cases there's a little more performance on tap than in the 1.2, but a lot more noise as well.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Reasonable demand for most models, although 1.2 SE in oversupply

James Ruppert
Used car guru

When the Kalos was new, its prices were reasonably competitive with other superminis. However, its residual values aren't as bad as you might expect, so you might not get as much of a bargain as you hoped. That said, no Kalos is what you'd call expensive.

Running costs are reasonable, too. All versions hover around the 40mpg mark for fuel consumption, and insurance costs are nice and cheap, too. The 1.2 falls into group 3 for insurance, while the 1.4 versions range between groups 4 and 5.

Servicing costs are around average for the class, as are the 10,000-mile service intervals.

Trade view

John Owen

Cheap as chips, but too much vinegar

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

Daewoo has a pretty solid record when it comes to reliability, and the Kalos also happens to be one of Daewoo's most dependable models, according to our data.

Some owners report that the front wheels are easily knocked out of alignment - by hitting a kerb, for example - and that makes the tyres wear a lot faster than normal. You could need a fresh set every 10,000 miles, so it's worth getting the alignment checked before you buy and checking for excessive tyre wear on any potential buy. One or two clutch faults have been reported, too, so keep an eye on that on your test drive.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Reasonable demand for most models, although 1.2 SE in oversupply

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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