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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For It's spacious and well equipped, and the 2.0-litre version is quick and economical

Against There's a definite lack of driver appeal, reliability is average, and repairs are costly

Verdict Only price is in its favour. It's not great to drive, it's not very reliable and expensive to repair

Go for… CDX and up

Avoid… SX trim

Daewoo Leganza Saloon
  • 1. 34% of the car's problems are down to the engine and 20% to the gearbox
  • 2. Ignore any car which hasn't had the cambelt changed on time every 40,000 miles. The belts can snap, causing damage that's expensive to fix
  • 3. Too much mechanical noise enters the cabin, even at moderate speeds
  • 4. The Leganza makes a good family car, with generous room in the back
  • 5. The big boot swallows plenty of luggage, and the rear seat splits and folds
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Daewoo Leganza Saloon full review with expert trade views

The Leganza is equipped to executive car standards, but at bargain basement prices. And, it’s one of the better cars to drive in the Daewoo line-up. However, that’s not saying much, and the ride is let down by a jittery feel over the smallest imperfections.

As if that wasn't bad enough, too much mechanical noise enters the cabin, even at moderate speeds, and a baulky gearchange doesn’t help matters. There is only one engine – a 2.0-litre petrol, which has the performance and economy of many of its European rivals.

Daewoo made a fair stab at giving the Leganza’s dash a high-quality look. It’s also one of the larger cars in its class, with generous front and rear accommodation. Even five occupants have enough elbow-room. The big boot swallows plenty of luggage, and the rear seat splits and folds to extend an already good-sized loading bay.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Value for money buy, but the market demands at least CDX spec

James Ruppert
Used car guru

There’s no diesel engine and just one petrol, so your choice is limited to a manual or automatic gearbox, and three trim levels.

The basic SX comes with air-conditioning, alloy wheels, an electric sunroof, four electric windows, twin front airbags, anti-lock brakes and electric door mirrors as standard. On top of that, the CDX has climate control, traction control, a CD multichanger and electric driver's seat-height adjustment, while the CDX E also has leather seats and satellite-navigation.

We would definitely plump for either of the higher trim levels. As well as getting the kind of luxury kit you'd expect from an upmarket German car, the top trims also upgrade the driver's seat-height adjustment to a much more user-friendly electric operation.

Last, but not least, we’d also spend a bit extra to get an automatic gearbox, which is much better than the manual.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Engine problems mean big average bills - a poor reliability rating

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct

If you get an unreliable Leganza, it could be very expensive to maintain - repair bills are high by anyone’s standards.

Running costs aren’t cheap, either, although in its defence the Leganza is a big car. The 2.0-litre petrol engine returns 30.7mpg and sits in insurance groups 11-13, depending on which of the trim levels you go for, which means that the top-of-the-range models are more expensive to insure than a Vauxhall Vectra SRi.

We have had reports of very bad customer service by General Motors, which, since buying Daewoo, doesn't seem to be familiar with how the older cars actually work. Parts are painfully slow to arrive, so you could end up spending a small fortune on public transport or taxis while your car is off the road.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Value for money buy, but the market demands at least CDX spec

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The Leganza’s cabin looks better and is finished to a higher standard than many of the other cars in the company's range. However, while the build quality might be up to scratch, the mechanical reliability on many of the cars isn’t.

Although the Leganza was never subject to a recall, according to Warranty Direct, it has been very unreliable and costly to repair, with average bills higher than many rivals'. And, with 34% of the car's problems down to the engine and 20% to the gearbox, we’re not talking minor quick-fixes here.

The other major issue is the cambelts, which have a propensity to snap if the 40,000-mile change interval is ignored. Again, if they give up the ghosy, you’re talking big bills. Our advice is to make sure you get a car with a full service history and with as few miles on the clock as possible.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Engine problems mean big average bills - a poor reliability rating

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct
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