Seen many Daewoo Kalos’s fighting Fiestas for space in Sainsbury’s car park? Thought not. Then you’ll understand the company’s need to inject some spice into the range with a sportier, more arresting model. Enter the Kalos Blue.
Don’t think that Daewoo is attempting to elbow its way into the junior GTi market though. Underneath the new chin spoiler, low sills and smart 10-spoke alloys lurks a standard 1.4 16-valve 5dr, albeit sitting 25mm lower and with a chrome tailpipe peeping out from the deeper rear skirt. The interior also benefits from a smattering of aluminium and leather.
It’s a thoroughly decent job as well: the Kalos being something of a looker, with the extra body agenda and piercing blue paintwork. Put aside the image of the Daewoo brand and it doesn’t look or feel cheap next to the best superminis either: space, equipment and cabin quality are right up there.
Away from the kerbside it’s not quite so convincing: the Kalos being only an average performer on road. It benefits from meaty steering, but the stiffer suspension serves up a choppier ride, without the benefit of decent body control.
Likewise, the 93bhp 1.4-litre engine is only a mid-ranker in terms of performance and refinement. It’s sprightly enough around town, letting you leap between traffic lights and keep pace without too much clutch work, but explore the upper end of the rev-range and it loses polish. Mooching along at motorway speed limits also exposes the Daewoo’s inability to suppress noise.
All in, the Blue will cost you £9995. That’s not so much of a bargain when the same cash gets you a well-specified Fabia, also with a 1.4 16-valve engine. But you’ll have to get busy with the options list to match the Daewoo’s air-con and CD player. Kalos buyers also gain three years’ free servicing and AA cover.
So the Kalos is a large amount of car for your money and is certainly good enough to merit a look. The question is whether you want.