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Long term test: Chevrolet Lacetti 1.8 CDX

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Review

Think Chevrolet and you might picture tail-fins, chrome and big V8 engines. Today’s reality is a range of budget-priced superminis and family saloons. Four thousand miles in the Chevrolet Lacetti four-door has given us the chance to evaluate its character.

You can take for granted that it’s spacious enough for four adults plus luggage, quiet enough, comfortable enough and brisk enough for motorway miles to pass calmly. It’s decently finished too, but some creaks and twitters are developing in the Lacetti’s trim, especially in the dashboard and the driver’s door.

It doesn’t feel badly built; more like it’s tightly assembled from inexpensive materials, and that makes it feel less solid than mainstream cars of the class above.

If you’re an enthusiastic driver you’ll also notice that the Chevrolet can’t match the dynamic polish and poise you pay for in, say, a Ford Focus. The low-speed ride is more brittle, the steering less lively, the brakes more wooden and the gearshift is obstructive if you hurry it.

But if you’re not interested in driving for its own sake, these aspects will matter less than the generous equipment level and reasonable asking price. Such people are Chevrolet’s target market. The Lacetti’s parentage leaves it with an identity crisis. It was launched as a Daewoo and is built in Korea, it was styled by ItalDesign and it’s now badged Chevrolet.

The brand has kept red-necked Yanks on wheels for decades but the Lacetti doesn’t feel American. It’s too compact, firm-riding and buzzy to live up to that stereotype, yet it doesn’t feel particularly European or Oriental either.

There may be more kudos to the Chevrolet bow than there was in the Daewoo name, but there’s a danger that GM will undermine that if it doesn’t inject a bit more personality into its products. thomas north.

Price: £11,995
Test period: Three months
Engine : 1.8-litre 122bhp, 122lb-ft
Mileage: at start 750
Test Mileage: 4,103
CAP RV (3yr/30k): £3,750 (32%)
Faults: None
Likes: Smooth, torquey engine, air-con controls
Dislikes: Air-con fan sounds like a grasshopper infestation

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