Daewoo Evanda 2-0 CDX

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Keywords: Daewoo Evanda 2-0 CDX
Description: Ever since the Daewoo Evanda came out almost fifteen years ago, I’ve been somewhat slightly intrigued by it. There’s something off-beat about the Evanda, as it often appears under a multitude of aliases depending of where it has been sold, and when, but never truly taking a name as its own. To ...

Ever since the Daewoo Evanda came out almost fifteen years ago, I’ve been somewhat slightly intrigued by it. There’s something off-beat about the Evanda, as it often appears under a multitude of aliases depending of where it has been sold, and when, but never truly taking a name as its own.

To begin with, it’s most authentically a Daewoo V200, replacing the V100 that was sold under the Leganza name. The V200 was sold as the Daewoo Magnus on its home turf, and when they were shipped to Western European ports, the name Evanda was applied on the trunklids. On North American markets, it was either the American Suzuki Verona or the Canadian Chevrolet Epica, the latter echoing its 2006 replacement (sold as the Daewoo Tosca in South Korea), but as Daewoo was even further integrated under General Motors, the Chevrolet badges were applied on the cars even in Europe.

So, this is what you could have ended up getting in 2004: a Daewoo which says GM Daewoo under the bonnet and has a Daewoo steering wheel, but Chevrolet badges on the outside. It’s an anti-car really, a non-brand, and despite having been designed by Italdesign’s Giorgetto Giugiaro like its predecessor, it appears perfectly anonymous. And that might be the thing I like most about it, there’s no badge burden on it if you just snip off the golden bowties. And since I found a little used ten-year-old example for sale locally, I really wanted to finally try one. Especially since it’s brown.

Badging the Evanda as a Chevrolet is such a fruitless task, mostly because the entire grille echoes the tulip-like Daewoo logo. There’s nothing too bad about the design, and it actually looks quite sharp from the front, certainly more so than the Alero that it effectively replaced on the European Chevrolet line-up. After this and the V250 Epica came the Suzuki Kizashi, which was never sold here, and the Chevrolet Malibu, which really didn’t sell here.

But at the rear, drop the glued-on Chevrolet badge and there would be no telling what brand the car is. A parking warden would have a tough time naming the car correctly on the ticket. Nevertheless, the body does look substantial, and for the longest time I thought the platform was shared with the GM Vectra, but there’s only the Family II 2.0-litre engine that’s shared with the Vectra. On some markets, you could get the Evanda with an inline Daewoo six, but not here.

The Australian-built, D-TEC badged 1998cc engine produces 130 horsepower and 181Nm of torque, but as the Evanda weighs 1435 kg, it’s a hefty hulk to haul around with such an everyday engine – especially with the four-speed automatic with which this car was saddled. The duct tape is a latter addition, but no less shoddy than the Chevrolet badges.

But inside, there’s the entire point of this car. Generic entry-level luxury with nothing necessary missing. Of course, a bunch of the touch points are of a hard-wearing, roughly-surfaced kind, with the soft-touch materials peeling, but there’s tan leather, plastic wood, climate control, everything you would need from a car like this. Something to justify choosing this from the sea of grey cars with grey cloth.

The climate control panel is far less fiddly to operate than you would expect, and some kind of a Big Nose Guy relative can even be seen on the display. And below that, a Blaupunkt stereo with a five-disc open changer, an Evanda staple.

The gear selector, however, felt just as clunky and plasticky to use as it looks, with unconvincing sounds from the bezel.

The Evanda felt a curious mixture of different setups, when I drove it around the town’s wet roads, on studded winter tires. The steering is very light, almost a fingertip affair, with no heaviness that would reward a spirited driver, even if there was a multi-link rear suspension to be enjoyed. But still, the ride wasn’t cosseting or sofa-like, as road imperfections were relayed on with a thud.

Nothing about the Evanda felt revealingly insubstantial while driving, and the 114k km car wore its miles well, without distinguishable rattles or irritations. Yet, by now it felt dated in every sense, not old enough to be even a future classic, though somehow more convincing from an enthusiast standpoint than a turn-of-the-decade Hyundai Sonata or Kia Magentis. The autobox shifted smoothly but eagerly, and burying the throttle gave an instant kick-down which didn’t exactly show the car as lethargic, but despite the 16-valve roar, not that much acceleration happened. I wouldn’t call the car a slouch, but there wasn’t any excess grunt that I could dig out of the carpet. Road noise produced by the winter tires was more present than I wished for.

The Bruichladdich sticker on the rear window was an amusing addition to the car, as an Islay Malt is heads and shoulders above the ambience of the car. What an Evanda is about is somehow store-brand bourbon; not necessarily bad per se, but nothing you would savour, nothing that really soothed you on a bad day.

But still, despite its nondescript appearance, I would hold onto a good, decent Evanda as something that’s bound to disappear one day. No-one could tell what they were, what they stood for, why one would pick one over an another vaguely similar offering from some other brand – until they would all be gone. There aren’t that many things to go wrong with these except for inevitable rust, and they appear to be pretty decently built. Cheap ones are bountiful, and this exact example could be had for less than 3700 euros. Cheapest Evandas with cloth and a stick shift are somewhere above 1500, but choosing a base model means you would get none of the leathery perks of a fully loaded one, and the bare, thinly disguised essentials of a badge-engineered car would be unnecessarily visible. Go brown, take tan leather, let the car maintain the interior temperature. Wander to an Evanda and don’t wonder why.



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