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    Feb 2005

    Daewoo Leganza (V100) 1997-2008

    The Daewoo Leganza is a mid-size sedan produced by Daewoo in South Korea between 1997 and 2002. Its internal development name was V100, under which it and its platform (not directly shared with any other model) are also known.

    Daewoo explained that the name Leganza originated from the combination of two Italian words elegante (elegant) and forza (power).


    The Leganza was a part of Daewoo's effort to develop a lineup of proprietary vehicles to replace previous GM-licensed models. Sister projects to the V100 are the T100 Daewoo Lanos and J100 Daewoo Nubira. The development of "x100" cars involved the work of many subcontractors and suppliers. This involved, among others, ZF with regard to transmissions, Holden concerning the engines and Dr. Ulrich Bez supervising design efforts.

    Leganza was styled by the famous Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro of Italdesign. It is believed that this design was inspired by Giugiaro's 1990 Jaguar Kensington concept car, a pedigree Leganza's body shares with the 1991 Toyota Aristo. In case of Leganza, however, Giugiaro had to deal with a slightly shorter vehicle with front-wheel rather than rear-wheel drive, which, combined with Daewoo styling cues, resulted in a controversial appearance although contemporary reviews praised the styling.


    Daewoo rapidly expanded their distribution network with the inception of new models, which made the Leganza present in the markets of most countries, albeit not necessarily with sales success. Daewoo placed special emphasis on developing markets, which involved the assembly of Leganzas in countries like Poland, Romania, Ukraine, Russia and Uzbekistan, in plants owned by Daewoo or under license agreements. Nevertheless, this concerned CKD or SKD assembly only, as all Leganzas were effectively made at Daewoo's Bupyong plant in Korea.

    It is worth noting that, contrary to many Korean cars sold worldwide, the Leganza was almost invariably sold under the Daewoo Leganza name, the only exception being the Doninvest Kondor, a short-lived version assembled by the Russian Doninvest corporation on Taganrog's TagAZ.

    At the time it was launched, the Leganza was a bit longer than most mid-size European or Asian cars, which is why it was initially marketed as an inexpensive executive car in some markets.

    Australian Market

    The base Leganza was offered with a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine, 5-speed manual, hubcaps, cloth trim and all the standard power options. It had an optional 4-speed, hydraulically operated transmission that was said to be rough operating, tended to hunt between gears, and do unnecessary downshifts to second gear. Ride quality was poor, as was cabin noise intrusion. In 1999, Daewoo made revisions to the model. The rough-operating hydraulic auto was replaced by an electronically controlled automatic transmission, which stopped the hunting between gears and random downshifts. The engine was upgraded to the 2.2 l, which boosted power from 98 kW (133 PS; 131 hp) to 99 kW (135 PS; 133 hp), giving better performance, but increasing fuel consumption. The Leganza also gained standard 15-inch alloy wheels, anti-theft alarm, and remote central locking. The suspension was fixed and improved, but sacrificed the smooth ride from the before model and the ability to soak up the bumps. In 2001 the Leganza gained leather upholstery, woodgrain trim, and an electric driver's seat. This was called the "Limited Edition". In 2002 the Nubira gained a leather interior, woodgrain, anti-theft alarm, alloy wheels and remote locking; this too was considered the "Limited Edition".


    The Leganza was a front-wheel-drive car, available with a four-door sedan body only. The Leganza was powered by Holden-sourced D-TEC DOHC 16V I4 engines (two displacements were made using the same block and bore, differing in stroke):

    • 2.0 l (1998 cc) 131 hp (98 kW; 133 PS) @ 5400rpm, 185 Nm (136 lbft) @ 4600rpm of torque used in models sold in Europe.
    • 2.2 l (2198 cc) 133 hp (99 kW; 135 PS) @ 5200rpm, 200 Nm (148 lbft) @ 2800rpm of torque used mainly for the American and Australian market.

    Both engines came with either a 5-speed manual transmission, or a 4-speed automatic.


    Contrary to Matiz or Nubira, the Leganza was not afforded a mid-life facelift, so there was no "V150" model (the xx50 designations are used by Daewoo to indicate facelifted versions of xx00 models). Rather than that, Daewoo increased the wheelbase of the V100 platform by 30 mm (1.2 in) to develop a new model, called Daewoo Magnus (V200), which was launched in 2000. Both models were sold side by side in Korea, and the Leganza got a small update (front grille) in 2001 but the Magnus has not been launched internationally until Leganza's demise in 2002, effectively replacing it. Daewoo ceased North American sales by then, so the V200 was released as the Suzuki Verona in the United States and Canada.

    There was no successor in the United Kingdom or Ireland until the launch of the Daewoo Tosca under the nameplate of Chevrolet Epica in 2007.

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