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Roadtest: Daewoo Lacetti: Hatch of the Dae; The attractive Lacetti is the latest proof that an odd couple can deliver model offspring, says BILL CAVEN.

Byline: BILL CAVEN

with brand emblem integrated into a horizontal chrome feature line.

The long wheelbase with short overhangs, the bold wheel arches and the belt-line rising toward the rear combine to create a dynamic side view.

At the rear, the Lacetti features a muscular shoulder line and eye-catching wrap-around light units.

It will initially be offered with a choice of two power-trains, aIT was widely regarded as a marriage of convenience when Daewoo got hitched to General Motors.

Few in the industry could understand why Vauxhall and Co. wanted to take on even more debt.

Others thought it was a crafty plan by GM to get a toe-hold in the Far East.

Whatever the reason, the union has started to pay dividends for Daewoo in particular. They are now introducing their third all-new car since the pair got together in October, 2002.

The latest offering, a five-door hatchback christened the Lacetti, reached showrooms this month.

The three-model range will be Daewoo's first attempt to crack the compact car segment, which accounted for nearly a quarter of all cars sold in Britain last year.

The Lacetti comes from the pen of design guru Giorgetto Giugiaro and is aimed specifically at the European market.

Daewoo felt it wise to return to the famous Turin studio, who have also successfully crafted the Matiz and Kalos.

The front-wheel drive family hatchback is all-new from the ground up and was developed with safety, space and comfort in mind.

The front end makes an instant impression with its almond-shaped, clear acrylic headlamps and contemporary front grille design complete 1.4-litre delivering 93PS and a 1.6-litre 100PS. There are also plans to introduce a more thrusting 1.8-litre version in the summer.

The 1.4-litre has a top speed of 108mph and takes 11.6 seconds to accelerate from 0-62mph.

More importantly, it will cover almost 40 miles on a gallon.

Naturally, the 1.6-litre is faster, by 8mph to be exact. It covers the sprint in just over 10 seconds, yet offers equally moderate fuel consumption.

Daewoo have continued with their stack-'em-high philosophy and even the entry-level model is well kitted out.

The SE spec includes power steering, ABS, dual front airbags, central door locking with keyless entry, electric front windows and a remote release for the boot.

To ensure the perfect driving position there will also be a height-adjustable driver's seat and adjustable steering wheel rake.

The bigger-engined SX features air conditioning, side airbags, alloy wheels, power and heated door mirrors and electric windows all round.

Both models will boast a Blaupunkt single CD player as part of the package. The system will come with six speakers, while the SX will have steering wheel audio controls.

Daewoo hope the newcomer will appeal to growing young families with an eye for style.

And an on-the-road price of pounds 9495 for the 1.4-litre and pounds 10,495 for the 1.6-litre should ensure a great deal of interest in the Lacetti.

factfile

Model: Daewoo Lacetti

Engine: 1.4, 1.6 and 1.8-litre petrol

Power: 93122PS

Fuel economy:39.8-34.9 combined

Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles

Price: From pounds 9495

On sale: March2004 (1.4 and 1.6)

CAPTION(S):

WOO-ING BUYERS: All Lacetti models are well kitted out
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 26, 2004
Words:547
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