Tuesday, January 18, 2011
A couple years ago, the question was, "Where's Waldo?" One of the major companies in the world is hoping that a lot of Americans will be asking, "What's Leganza?"
The simple answer is that it is Daewoo's flagship small car, sailing into the crowded waters of the American market. It comes with an exterior design that is a joint effort from in-house stylists and Giugiaro's renowned ItalDesign operation. The Italian studio has been responsible for many fine cars, such as the Lexus GS300.
The company says "Leganza" is a name cobbled together from fragments of the Italian "Elegante" (elegant) and "forza" (power). It may be intended to link to Lexus, Legend and Legacy, but too many folks have confused it with "Lasagna."
Daewoo is better at building cars than naming them. This is the largest of three new offerings from Daewoo. Leganza is priced and sized as a compact but is billed by its maker as a "luxury midsize" sedan. Most will shop it against the Contour, Malibu and Altima, which are really small cars positioned between those segments.
Leganza stands apart with confident styling and an advanced powertrain and suspension. The chromed radiator grille imparts a distinctive look and more elegance than is typically available in this part of the market. Leganza brings new style to affordable driving.
The most impressive features of Leganza is the high quality of body assembly, comfort options and paint finish. The door closes with a solid sound. Fine leather is available for the whole cabin, accompanied by nice wood trim. Leganza has a relatively quiet cabin for this class.
Since Daewoo has had a long association with General Motors, it is no surprise that it called upon GM's favored partners for help. Lotus input is apparent in the good ride, with modest body roll during cornering and light steering. Leganza has fully independent strut-type suspension, four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes, and rack-and-pinion power steering. Few cars in this segment have rear disc brakes available, let alone as standard equipment.
Posted by Palmer at 7:34 AM
This curvaceous roadster still commands looks from fellow drivers
A cockpit defined—and constricted—by its sweeping center console
Road and Track
Decidedly behind the curve
As if last year's Pontiac Solstice wasn't stylish enough, 2009 sees the introduction of an all-new, stunningly gorgeous coupe body style.
The exterior of the 2009 Pontiac Solstice wins high praise in every review read by TheCarConnection.com. Edmunds says that the Pontiac Solstice, which "is available as either a soft-top roadster or a coupe" and in either base or GXP trims, "still commands looks from fellow drivers and passers-by." Kelley Blue Book agrees, noting that "the Solstice easily rivals such stylish competitors as the BMW Z4 and Audi TT, yet costs half as much." Cars.com reports that "the new coupe has a fastback appearance with a sleek roofline" and, like the Chevrolet Corvette coupe, "has a removable center section for an open-air driving experience," although unlike the Corvette, with the Solstice "the removable center section must be left at home because there's no storage space for it in the car." The only real complaint with the styling comes in regard to the convertible's top, and Automobile Magazine states that "raising and lowering the ragtop takes a minute or two with the car stopped and consists of half a dozen" steps, which compares poorly with the Miata's single-step operation.
Despite the exciting promise of the exterior, the Pontiac Solstice's interior doesn't look quite so good, at least according to reviews read by TheCarConnection.com. Kelley Blue Book immediately notes that "some interior parts are borrowed from other GM products (Chevrolet Corvette, Opel Corsa, Hummer H3)." ConsumerGuide finds that "controls are simple to operate, but some are awkward to reach," and the gauges are "hard to read even by day." Autoblog simply calls the interior design "decidedly behind the curve."
Posted by Palmer at 7:26 AM