Used 1999 Daewoo Lanos Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1999

This entry into the subcompact class is Daewoo's attack on the Honda Civic.

Vehicle overview

Daewoo, Korean for "Great Universe," has decided to take the U.S. market by storm with the Lanos. Trouble is, the U.S. market is already flooded with underpowered subcompact cars. Nevertheless, Daewoo is diving in, aiming sales squarely at loan-saddled college students. Interestingly, if you rearrange "Lanos" you get "Loans."

Available as a three-door hatchback or a four-door sedan, the Lanos is about the size of a Hyundai Accent. Because the Lanos is a small subcompact, anyone over six feet tall should not bother trying find a comfortable seating position. But the price matches the car's size.

The Lanos is available in three trim levels: S, SE and SX. Each comes with a 1.6-liter DOHC 16 valve engine that makes 105 horsepower at 5800 rpm and 107 foot-pounds of torque at 3400 rpm. A five-speed manual transmission is also standard, but buyers may choose a four-speed automatic, an $800 option.

While the S model is the base car, you have to go to the mid-level SE in order to purchase the optional ABS. SX trim buyers get a CD player, air conditioning, alloy wheels, fog lights and a tilt steering column. A moonroof is optional only on the SX.

Prices for this entry-level car range from about $9,000 for the bare bones model to just over $13,000 for a decently equipped SX. But with Daewoo's factory stores, modeled after Saturn's no-haggle price system, we have to wonder what the incentive is to drive away in an unproven Korean car of questionable reliability, when the Honda dealer down the street offers tried-and-true Civics and used Acura Integras for a similar price. And while you're at it, don't forget to shop the Dodge Neons, Saturn coupes and sedans, Nissan Sentras, Ford Escorts, Mercury Tracers, Mazda Proteges and Volkswagen Golfs. This segment is loaded with value.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.