Midsize car; Built in South Korea
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $2,600*

2000 Daewoo Leganza

2000 Daewoo Leganza

2000 Daewoo Leganza interior

2001 Daewoo Leganza

2001 Daewoo Leganza

  • Quietness
  • Ride
  • Acceleration (w/automatic transmission)
  • Automatic-transmission performance

Low resale value might make the Leganza tempting on a strictly dollar basis, but one of the reasons for rapid depreciation has been the unstable state of the company. Even before the financial concerns mounted, Daewoo ranked as a “dark horse,” with no track record in the U.S. for quality and service. Kia and Hyundai competitors, also from South Korea, have come with much longer and more comprehensive warranties, as well as better reputations. As of mid-2002, the future is uncertain both for Daewoo dealers and all the car owners in the U.S.


Largest and most costly of the three Daewoo models that entered the U.S. market in 1999, the Leganza was priced and sized as a front-drive compact sedan, but billed as a “luxury midsize” model. Leganza served as the “flagship” for the South Korean automaker’s foray into the U.S. sales race. Rivals included the Mazda 626, Mitsubishi Galant, Nissan Altima, Subaru Outback/Legacy, Ford Contour, and perhaps the Volkswagen Passat.

SE, SX, and top-of-the-line CDX editions all had standard all-disc antilock braking, air conditioning, a cassette stereo system, heated power mirrors, and other features that would ordinarily be optional on cars in this league. A Daewoo-built 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine powered all Leganza models, SE models came with a standard five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic. The automatic unit was standard in SX and CDX sedans.

Standard equipment included a tilt steering wheel, split folding rear seat, power locks and windows, remote keyless entry, a theft-deterrent system, rear defogger, and foglights. Tires were 205/60R15 size, and a full-size spare was included. The SX sedan added variable-assist power steering, cruise control, leather upholstery, a six-way power driver’s seat, and cassette/CD player. Topping the line, the CDX sedan had automatic climate control, a power sunroof, alloy wheels, and traction control.

Daewoo was the third South Korean company to market passenger cars in the U.S., following the lead of Hyundai and Kia. Initially, 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 Leganza
Little was new in the Leganza’s second year on the U.S. market. On the plus side, more Daewoo dealerships were appearing. At the same time, the South Korean company was facing serious financial troubles, prompting consideration of a possible takeover by one of the Big Three automakers.
2001 Leganza
Changes were few for what Daewoo called its “affordable luxury” compact sedan. Antilock braking remained standard in the midrange SX and top-of-the-line CDX, but was unavailable for the SE sedan. Higher-powered audio systems were installed this year. A new upgrade package for the SE included a CD/cassette stereo, remote keyless entry/alarm system, cruise control, and foglamps.
Although the increasingly embattled Daewoo company continued to send cars to the U.S. market, financial woes were mounting rapidly back home in South Korea. Prospective purchasers emerged, then backed away, and Daewoo’s fate was increasingly uncertain.
2002 Leganza
Leganza sedans lost some standard equipment for 2002. The midrange SX edition was gone, leaving only the base SE and upscale CDX. The CDX price was cut by $600, but it lost traction control, antilock braking, leather upholstery, and the sunroof–though all of those items remained optional. Automatic climate control no longer was available.
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.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

All Leganzas held a dual-overhead-cam 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine, rated at 131 horsepower. A five-speed manual gearbox was standard in SE sedans, with a four-speed automatic transmission optional. SX and CDX models came only with automatic.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.2/134
Engine HP 131
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 148
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

Road Test

Like the smaller Daewoo models–Lanos and Nubira–the Leganza is a credible competitor in its class, but no more than that. Basically, it’s a competent family four-door, promising acceptable but uninspiring performance and comfort. Although it comes close to some Japanese-brand rivals, the Leganza fails to excel in any area.

All Leganza models deliver a lot of safety and convenience features for the money. A smooth and pillowy ride is generally pleasing, if somewhat “floaty,” but some bumps are attacked with a surprising level of harshness. Soggy but safe handling is the rule–on a par with some competitors. Braking also ranks as decent. The roomy sedan has good space for four adults.

Less likable are the Leganza’s tepid acceleration, mediocre gas mileage, and some odd interior design details. Interior assembly quality isn’t the best, and radios operate rather strangely.

A CDX sedan with automatic took 11 seconds to reach 60 mph, which falls short of the car’s rivals. Fuel economy in new-car testing ranged from 19.5 to 22.4 mpg–typical for a four-cylinder compact, but nothing exceptional.


Model Tested: 2001 Daewoo Leganza CDX

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 - 5
Ride Quality - 4
Steering/Handling - 3
Quietness - 5


Controls/Materials - 5
Room/Comfort Front - 5
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
Cargo Room - 3


Value - 1

Total: 37


4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
105.1 183.9 70.0 56.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.1 15.8 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.3 37.8 42.3 38.2
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

Fuel gauge
Description: Incorrect fuel gauge readings are caused by a defective resistor card in the fuel sender. (2001-02)
Poor transmission shift
Description: The shifter may vibrate at high engine RPMs and is repaired with a counterweight.
Electrical problem
Description: The wiring for the EGR valve solenoid may contact the hot valve and melt unless it is restrained. (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: Front seat passenger could suffer increased head injury in a crash resulting from contact with the A pillar (forward most roof support).

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.