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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 There are only five seats and petrol engines, and room in the boot is limited with the seats up

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

Go for… 2.0 CDX

Avoid… 1.6 SX

Daewoo Tacuma MPV
  • 1. For the most practical Tacuma, avoid the entry-level cars, which don't have removable rear seats
  • 2. The quality of the interior plastics isn’t great; look out for rattles in the dash
  • 3. If you remove the parcel shelf, you have to fold the seats forward, which is a real pain
  • 4. Check that recall work to fix possible cracks in the brake pipes was completed in 2002
  • 5. The 2.0-litre petrol engine is the one to choose. The 1.6 just isn't strong enough
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Daewoo 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 also lots of storage around the cabin, and drawers under the front seats.

Should a sporty drive and sophisticated handling come high on your list of priorities, though, this is probably not for you; the stiff suspension prevents body roll in corners, but it bumps and thumps its way around town. You’ll also hear some wind noise when on the move, but refinement is acceptable with either engine.

Inside, the dash is neat and well laid out, with instruments in easy reach. Only the stereo’s small buttons disappoint.

Those 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.

Trade view

John Owen

Great-value Scenic clone

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

The range had a welcome face-lift in 2004, and we'd recommend you buy a model from after that date.

But, at any age, the best Tacuma is the larger 2.0-litre petrol. With 119bhp, it’s not exactly quick, but it has plenty of pull from low revs. It’s also available with a rather lumpy optional automatic gearbox, although we'd avoid that.

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

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.

The CDX version, on the 2.0-litre, adds climate control and alloys, as well as seat-back tables. Pre-2005 1.6 models and the 1.8-litre (discontinued in 2001) can be found in base SE trim, which includes electric front windows, air-conditioning, remote locking and an alarm.

Range-topping CDX Plus models add leather upholstery and reverse parking sensors.

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 may not be stunning, but it's not far short of a comparable Renault Scenic or Citroen Picasso, two key rivals. The Tacuma is much cheaper to buy, however, although there’s no diesel option.

On the other hand, servicing costs might sting, and of its near 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 older Chevrolets are still branded) 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. 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, so ensure that this work was carried out. In 2003, some cars had new fuel feed pipes fitted.

Other worrying signs come from the owners themselves. In JD Power customer satisfaction surveys, for example, the Tacuma finished well down the table. Some owners felt the car didn’t offer enough performance; however the dealer service and cheap servicing redeemed it.

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

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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