Compact car; Built in South Korea
  • 2-door hatchback
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $2,100*

2000 Daewoo Lanos 4-door sedan

2000 Daewoo Lanos 2-door hatchback

2001 Daewoo Lanos Sport interior

2001 Daewoo Lanos Sport 2-door hatchback

2001 Daewoo Lanos 2-door hatchback

  • Fuel economy
  • Price
  • Acceleration
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Rear-seat entry/exit (hatchback)
  • Rear-seat room

Though seemingly quite affordable, the Lanos isn’t really all that cheap for a car that ranks only average in most respects–and disappointing in several major areas. It’s definitely not a wise entry-level buy, especially since Kia and Hyundai rivals are better developed and more appealing, and came with much longer, more comprehensive warranties. We’d opt for one of those, or for a Japanese or American alternative that offers superior refinement and customer support, for a little more money. A Ford Escort or Dodge Neon, for instance, offers superior refinement and customer support.


Lanos is the smallest member of the trio of passenger cars that emerged in 1999 from Daewoo, the third South Korean automaker to enter the U.S. market. The front-drive subcompact came as a two-door hatchback or four-door sedan, in S, SE, and top-of-the-line SX trim. Main rival was the similar-sized Hyundai Accent, also produced in Korea, but Lanos models also competed against the Dodge/Plymouth Neon, Ford Focus, Ford Escort/ZX2, Honda Civic, Hyundai Accent, and Toyota Echo.

All versions used a 1.6-liter, dual-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine, offered with five-speed manual shift or an optional four-speed automatic transmission. Antilock braking was optional, except on base S models.

Standard equipment included cloth front bucket seats, a split folding rear seat, cassette stereo system, rear defogger, tachometer, intermittent wipers, and 185/60R14 tires. Hatchbacks had a rear wiper/washer. The midrange SE edition added a power right-hand mirror, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, and a theft-deterrent system. Topping the trio, the SX came with air conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, cassette/CD stereo, foglights, alloy wheels, and the option of a power sunroof.

At first, Daewoo recruited teams of students to promote the car on college campuses. Before long, though, conventional dealerships began to spring up around the country, Buyers got a roadside assistance program as part of the purchase.

Yearly Updates

2000 Lanos
Little was changed in the Lanos’s second season on the U.S. market, except that more dealerships were appearing. At the same time, the South Korean company was starting to face serious financial woes, prompting consideration of a possible takeover by one of the Big Three automakers. By now, the Lanos had another competitor in the U.S., in the form of the comparably-sized Kia Rio.
2001 Lanos
The increasingly embattled Daewoo company continued to send cars to the U.S. market, but financial troubles were mounting rapidly. Prospective suitors emerged, then backed away, and Daewoo’s fate was increasingly uncertain.
Minor rear-end styling changes were evident. The Lanos SE hatchback and SX four-door sedan were dropped (including the option of antilock braking). That left only mainstream S models, available with a new Premium Package that roughly duplicated formerly standard top-of-the-line equipment. A new Sport hatchback got body-colored side skirts, bumpers and mirrors–plus a rear spoiler, black/red leather upholstery, air conditioning, power windows and locks, power mirrors, and a CD/cassette stereo.
2002 Lanos
In spring 2002, General Motors bought a sizable share of the assets of the Daewoo organization–but not its sales arm in the U.S. That move left dealers hanging, selling only leftover cars, and owners unsure how their vehicles would be repaired under warranty.
The Lanos came as a two-door hatchback in S or Sport trim, and as an S four-door sedan. Power steering was now an option on the S edition, and alloy wheels no longer were available on the Lanos Sport.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Throughout its life on the U.S. market, the Lanos used a single powertrain: a dual-cam four-cylinder engine making 105 horsepower, coupled with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.6/98
Engine HP 105
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 106
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

Road Test

Crude, loud, and coarse, the little Lanos is something of a throwback to imported cars of an earlier era. In comparison, the Korean-built Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio come across as civilized and refined. So do a host of Japanese- and American-brand small cars that cost more, but deliver a far greater level of quality and confidence.

Falling well short of the competition in acceleration and quietness, the Lanos can nevertheless be almost fun to drive–but in the older-import sense, not the modern mode. Performance is at least passable with manual shift, and it gets around town well enough, but this is not a great choice for long highway drives. The automatic transmission can behave in a jumpy manner at times. Lack of available antilock braking in 2001-02 models is another drawback.

Rear-seat room is more limited than in some competitors, true, but it’s actually rather spacious when you consider the Lanos’s exterior dimensions. Interior details are on the bargain-basement level.

Still, the biggest disadvantage of buying a Daewoo is the highly uncertain future for the remaining dealerships. As of mid-2002, no one is sure where, or how, the existing cars will be serviced.


Model Tested: 2001 Daewoo Lanos S sedan

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 2
Fuel Economy - 6
Ride Quality - 3
Steering/Handling - 2
Quietness - 3


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 4
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
Cargo Room - 2


Value - 1

Total: 32


2-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
99.2 160.4 66.1 56.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
31.3 12.7 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.9 37.8 42.8 34.6
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
99.2 166.8 66.1 56.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
8.8 12.7 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.9 37.8 42.8 34.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Description: Various brakes complaints ranging from partial hydraulic failures, short pad life to inoperative ABS. (1999-00)
Fuel gauge
Description: Incorrect fuel gauge readings are caused by a defective resistor card in the fuel sender. (2001-02)
Steering problems
Description: Imprecise steering feel, wandering and loss of power assist. (2000)
Description: The headlight wiring connector may be damaged by heat causing low light output. (1999)

Recall History

Description: Camshaft position sensor on some engines may melt, resulting in burning smell and visible smoke that could lead to melting of camshaft cover and wire harness, possibly causing underhood fire.
Description: Steering will feel loose if the steering wheel center bushing that connects the wheel hub to the steering column slips.
Description: In a side impact collision, pelvic protection for the front seat occupants will be reduced due to an incorrectly positioned side impact pad.
Description: Some alloy wheels were manufactured without steel bushing inserts around the wheel bolt openings. The wheels could detach from the vehicle, causing a crash.
Description: In a crash in which airbags do not deploy, there is increased risk of head injury to the front seat passenger due to lack of energy absorbing mounting brackets on the airbag cover.
Description: A wiring harness beneath the carpet could be damaged by passenger traffic, affecting engine drivability; engine could stall.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.