Monday, July 28, 2014

Used Car Review - Daewoo Racer (1994-1998)

Before leaving the month of July, Myk Belmonte reviews this jalopy just for the heck of it.

1994-1998 Daewoo Racer

There are some car manufacturers who are willing to dispose their old body styles (with license, of course) so that other manufacturers can use it. Some Japanese manufacturers would lend their bodies of some cars to several Chinese manufacturers (those who would copy are a different manner) while in this case, Opel would donate some of their old cars to Daewoo to form their new cars. In fact, Opel donated the Kadett E who is going to be discontinued with some modifications by Daewoo and the end product is the LeMans.

First launched in 1986, the LeMans was sold under a variety of names including under those of Asuna, Pontiac, and Passport under a variety of engines and either available in sedan or hatchback. The nameplate ran for two generation models until it was replaced by the Daewoo Lanos in 1997. Some countries have the second generation model (Cielo/Nexia) still under production.

Locally, it was the first Daewoo badged vehicle to be sold under Transfarm and Co. Inc based in Cebu. While it had some success in its early years, the financial crisis crippled Quisimbing's distribution rights for the vehicles of the Korean company. Variants sold include the ETi and GTi with a TXi model aimed for taxi fleets launched in late 1994.

Value and Costs
If you are determined in buying one, then you'll jump for joy that prices range in the P30,000 to P60,000 price bracket. With that money, you can buy a brand new laptop, cellphone, a semester's worth in college, or a brand new motorcycle; but then think many times before committing to buy one.

When it comes to maintenance costs, there are parts specialists for old Korean vehicles that exists but overall finding them can be a huge headache. Old Korean vehicles aren't exactly known for their reliability, so better check the car overall before buying one.

Exterior and Interior
Laying your eyes upon one, you would say that this is not one of the most beautiful of them all. Some lines and blocks make this one somewhat outdated. Do take note that ETi and GTi models have a different trunk design from the TXi, plus the latter does not have any hubcap covers while the GTi can be ordered with alloy wheels though.

This budget car has tons of space for the passengers, which is a strength. Interior quality can be described as a hard plastic party but you do not have any right to complain about it. Some models have an analog clock which was added in 1996 while the GTi can be had with power windows, dangerously situated in the middle console.

While other engines of the same size had a carburetor system, the Racer's 1.5 engine carrying 89hp at 5,500rpm and 127Nm at 3,000rpm has a fuel injection system with throttle body injection that provides smooth acceleration but fuel consumption isn't good when it is not cleaned.

Driving Impressions
Ever since it was sold, technology and driving dynamics aren't the latest ones especially that one must consider it was based on a 1980s Opel. It provides a smooth acceleration but other than that, one must look elsewhere.

If you really want this Daewoo, prepare to load yourself with tons of patience. However, there exists better cars if you are willing to shell out more money.

The Good:
  • It has the space
  • It ca be bought in the cheap
  • Did we say its cheap?
The Bad:
  • Iffy quality
  • Dangerous location for the power windows
  • Hard to find parts
The Pick: GTi

Engine: 1,498cc I4 gasoline
Power: 89hp @ 5,500rpm
Torque: 127Nm @ 3,000rpm
Fuel Consumption: 8-10km/L (city), 10-12km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 3-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent wishbone, rear torsion beam axle with coil springs

Price (New): P300,000-P400,000
Price (Now): P30,000-P60,000
Rivals: Hyundai Excel, Kia Pride, Honda Civic LX, Mazda 323, Mitsubishi Lancer EL, Nissan Sentra JX/LEC, Toyota Corolla XL/XE
On Sale: 1994-1998

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