The Lanos represents the second generation of Daewoo models to arrive in the UK. A more sophisticated offering than its predecessor, the little-lamented Nexia, the Lanos pitches itself into a marketplace brimful with quality offerings from the mainstream manufacturers. Sized somewhere between a Fiesta and Escort, the Lanos' closest rival is probably Rover's 25, both cars offering keen value for money and a healthy amount of equipment.
Traditionally appealing to a mature clientele who place a premium on reliability and a watertight warranty agreement, Daewoo's models, and the Lanos in particular, won't attract those who prioritise refinement and handling. One important aspect to consider is that the attractive three years free servicing offer on new models becomes invalid unless the car is bought through Daewoo, although the AA cover and warranty for the same period become the property of the new owner. If this level of after sales service sounds attractive, a nearly new Lanos, whilst not about to set pulses racing, will undoubtedly help you rest easy at night.
Daewoo launched the Lanos alongside its larger sibling, the Nubira, to the public in September 1997. The range remained largely unchanged since launch, and comprised three and five door hatchbacks and a four-door saloon. Engine options available consisted of a 1349cc (but badged as a 1.4) fuel injected unit that developed 74bhp and a 1.6 injected item for the plusher variants.
Three trim levels are available. The S model boasts a high standard equipment level for a base model in this class including twin airbags, side impact beams, tinted glass, engine immobiliser and RDS radio/cassette. This model was only available as a three-door hatch and the options range stretched to alarm and metallic paint. The midrange trim level, dubbed SE, could be specified as a three or five door hatch and was identified by body coloured bumpers. Metallic paint was standard, as was a tachometer. The range topping SX model was available with both hatchback body styles plus a four-door saloon body, surely a case if ever there was one of 'you pays your money and makes your choice.' An automatic gearbox option proved popular and expect to find electric front windows, air conditioning and a tilt adjustable steering column.
In Summer 2000, minor improvements were introduced, highlighted by redesigned rear light clusters. Specification tweaks included revised door trim, a 'metallic-look' fascia, and improved seat fabrics and wheel trim covers on both the SE and SX models. The SE variants now had electric front windows, while the plusher SXs now got body-coloured side strips, wing mirrors and door handles. In three-door form, the SX also featured 'discreet' body-coloured side skirting and a rear spoiler. It was early 2003 when the last of the new Lanos models left the dealerships.