What's New for 2000
Nubira, already the most appealing choice from the Daewoo buffet, is restyled inside and out and becomes even more attractive to cash-strapped buyers. Firmer springs and a new rear stabilizer bar tighten handling, and the new SE trim level replaces last year's SX model. The five-door hatchback is dropped, but four new colors debut. Scheduled maintenance for the duration of the basic warranty, and three-year/36,000-mile 24-hour roadside assistance is standard.
Nubira. Sounds like a cloud formation, but it's actually the name of one of the three cars from Korean automaker Daewoo (pronounced DAY-woo). Nubira means "to go everywhere," and it's Daewoo's best shot at going anywhere in the fickle American marketplace.
The Nubira is available in two levels of trim: SE and CDX in either sedan or wagon format. The SE, which costs just $11,500, comes with a height adjustable seat, six-speaker sound system with cassette player and four-wheel disc brakes. An optional convenience package adds power windows, mirrors and locks, as well as remote keyless entry, tilt steering wheel, a car alarm and fog lights, for just $560. CDX trim buys air conditioning, alloy wheels, cruise control and antilock brakes, while leather seats and a moonroof are optional. A loaded CDX Wagon can be had for about $16,000. All Nubiras are covered by a new scheduled maintenance policy, which covers oil changes, tire rotations, and the like for the duration of the basic three-year/36,000-mile warranty.
The sole engine choice for the Nubira is a GM-designed Australian 2.0-liter with 129 horsepower at 5,400 rpm and 135 foot-pounds of torque at 4,400 rpm. This sprightly motor meets LEV standards this year. Mated to the standard five-speed manual transmission, the Nubira can reach 60 mph in less than 10 seconds, but acceleration is accompanied by plenty of engine racket. The optional automatic requires nearly 2 seconds more to reach expressway velocities.
For 2000, Daewoo has restyled the already appealing Nubira. New front and rear ends give the car a more modern appearance, while larger exterior mirrors improve visibility. Inside, a redesigned dash and new interior fabrics modernize the cabin. New seats are installed all around for improved comfort, and rear passengers now get an armrest and three-point belts for all three positions. Child seat-tether anchors have been added.
Suspension enhancements in the name of firmer springs and a rear stabilizer bar help improve handling for 2000, but the lame 14-inch tires we griped about during our test driving are still present. Overall, the Nubira provides a pleasant ride and decent, if not downright sporty, handling.
The Nubira may be Daewoo's best shot at finding a niche in the crowded sub-$20,000 economy car market, despite the stiff competition in this segment. It's attractive, reasonably powerful, and can be loaded to the gills with equipment for a seductively low price. Now, if only buyers could haggle on the price a little at the dealership, Daewoo might have a chance at selling a substantial number of cars in the United States.