What's New for 1999
The whole car is new to the United States, as is the motor company that makes it.
Leganza, a name purportedly derived from a combination of "Elegance" and the Italian word "Forza", is used to describe Daewoo's top-of-the-line midsize sedan. The Leganza's interior is on the small side for a midsize, or about the same as the Ford Contour.
The Leganza is powered by a 2.2-liter DOHC 16-valve engine with 131 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 148 foot-pounds of torque at 2,800 rpm. It rides on a 105.1-inch wheelbase, and measures 183.9 inches long by 70 inches wide by 56.6 inches high. Prices start at around $15,000 and reach up to over $19,000, though a six-cylinder motor is not offered.
There are three trim levels available on the Leganza: SE, SX and CDX. The SE is pretty sparse, but is the only one available with a five-speed manual transmission. Step up to the SX, and you're rewarded with a CD player, leather seats, cruise control, speed-sensitive steering and the automatic transmission. The most luxurious CDX gets a standard power driver's seat, automatic temperature control, fake wood trim, power moonroof, alloy wheels, ABS and traction control.
The Leganza's ride was tuned by British suspension expert Lotus, but it's still soft around turns and body roll is apparent. The multinational flavor of the car is enhanced when you discover that the engine is Australian, the automatic transmission is Japanese and the styling is Italian. Built in Korea, the Leganza is a strange melting pot indeed.
The biggest hurdle the Leganza faces is not Daewoo's no-haggle factory outlet sales strategy, but the extremely fierce competition in the midsize sedan segment. Competing against such entities as the Honda Accord, Ford Contour, Mazda 626, Mitsubishi Galant, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry is no small order, especially when the American buying public already knows exactly how to pronounce the names of those makes.