What's New for 2001
You can pick up a Daewoo Nubira with Diamond Blue Metallic paint. The sedan gets a new 14-inch standard wheel cover and the wagon has a fresh rear taillamp design.
Nubira. Sounds like a cloud formation, but it's actually the name of one of the three cars from Daewoo. 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 trim levels and body styles: SE sedan and CDX trim applied to either sedan or wagon formats. The base SE comes with a height-adjustable driver's seat, six-speaker sound system with cassette player and four-wheel disc brakes. The optional convenience package adds power windows, mirrors and locks, as well as remote keyless entry, tilt steering wheel, a car alarm and fog lights.
Uplevel CDX trim includes a long list of additional standards, in addition to a loaded SE. Air conditioning, CD player, alloy wheels (that resemble a Cuisinart tool), cruise control, heated exterior mirrors and antilock brakes keep CDX buyers happy that they upgraded. Leather seats and a moonroof are optional on CDX. Wagons add a rear wiper and a roof rack. All Nubiras are covered by a scheduled maintenance policy, which takes care of oil changes, tire rotations and the like for the first year and 12,000 miles of ownership.
The sole engine choice for the Nubira is a GM-designed, Australian 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 129 horsepower at 5,400 rpm and 136 foot-pounds of torque at 4,400 rpm. This sprightly motor meets LEV standards. 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.
Overall, the Nubira provides a pleasant ride and decent, if not downright sporty, handling as long as the driver isn't pushing the car for all it's worth. Body roll is kept to a minimum in slower turns, and steering is reasonably responsive if a bit numb. The factory tires, however, could certainly use upgrading, as could the rather weak brakes.
Surprisingly, there's plenty of room up front for legs, though rear legroom is severely compromised when the tallest of drivers has the seat moved all the way back in the track. Cabin materials could stand improvement, but at this price, they certainly meet the standard. New exterior colors, taillights (wagon only) and wheelcovers are the only changes for 2001.
The Nubira may be Daewoo's best shot at finding a niche in the crowded economy car market, despite the stiff competition in this segment. It's somewhat 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 sticker a little at the dealership, Daewoo might have a chance at selling a substantial number of cars in the United States.