Shitty In Pink: 2000 Daewoo Leganza vs 2015 Chevrolet Malibu

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Welcome to another edition of Shitbox Showdown! Today’s search takes us to fabulous Las Vegas, home of cheap buffets, a giant black pyramid, Penn & Teller, and, apparently, oddly-hued cars. But before we hit the bright lights, let’s finish up with yesterday’s odd couple:

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As I suspected. However, I was in a hurry and didn’t notice what some of you pointed out: there’s no way in hell those photos were taken in northern California. This little yellow Jeep might not be on the up-and-up after all. You know the old saying: if it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Well, with that minor disappointment out of the way, let’s roll the dice on a couple of pink cars from Sin City. OK, fine, one is only partially pink. It’s also the newest car we’ve ever featured here, but boy does it have some miles on the clock. Let’s take a look.

2000 Daewoo Leganza – $1,500

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Engine/drivetrain: 2.2 liter DOHC inline 4, 4 speed automatic, FWD

Location: Henderson, NV

Odometer reading: 79,000 miles

Runs/drives? Yep

Daewoo’s foray into the US market only lasted for five model years. Three models were offered here, in order of ascending size: the Lanos, the Nubira, and the Leganza. Marketed heavily on college campuses and priced less than comparably sized and equipped cars, Daewoo should have made it. But the marketing didn’t work, the college kids who were recruited to sell Daewoos on college campuses sued the company, and the cars themselves, quite frankly, sucked. And having a logo that either looked like tighty-whiteys or a jock strap, depending who you asked, probably didn’t help.

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Most Daewoos didn’t last long; despite selling almost 70,000 cars the year this example was sold, they were a rare sight by the mid-2000s. The Leganza seemed to fare better than the smaller cheaper models; whether they were actually better built or just better cared-for, it’s hard to say. I seem to remember seeing one on the road here in Portland recently, but it might have been a couple of years ago now that I think of it.

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And yet, here in the Vegas suburbs, here is a low-mileage Leganza, being driven regularly. And even better – it’s pink! I can’t say for sure if it’s the original color, but the door sills match. There is some white paint showing on the plastic bumpers, but they could be white plastic for all I know. The interior looks pretty decent, frankly, which might be due to the low mileage.

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Outside, things aren’t quite as, well, rosy. The paint is shiny, but the car has been booped in the nose pretty hard. There is a crease in the hood, and we have no way of knowing if that orange strap is holding the bumper on, the headlight in, or the hood shut. The seller says it runs well, but has a little coolant leak from somewhere.

Two fun facts I learned about the Leganza while reading up on it: the engine came from Holden in Australia (GM owned Daewoo at the time), and the styling was done by Giorgetto Giugiaro (who has one hell of a curriculum vitae). Didn’t help, but it’s interesting.

2015 Chevrolet Malibu – $2,500

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Engine/drivetrain: 2.5 liter DOHC inline 4, 6 speed automatic, FWD

Location: Las Vegas, NV

Odometer reading: 280,000 miles

Runs/drives? Doesn’t say, actually

Quick – name the hardest-working car you can think of. Police car? Nope. Delivery van? Ha. This two-colored Malibu has them both beat: It has spent its seven years since leaving the factory as a taxicab in Las Vegas. The odometer shows 280,000 miles, and you just know it spent even longer idling outside the airport and in various taxi lines at various casinos. It has ferried everyone from businessmen to bachelorettes all over Vegas at all hours of the day, and it lives to tell the tale.

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Well, I think it lives. The ad doesn’t specifically say it runs, but I can’t imagine they’d have the guts to sell a non-running car for $2500. This generation of Malibu is powered by a 2.5 liter revised version of GM’s Ecotec four-cylinder, sending its power through a six-speed automatic. It’s not the most exciting powertrain of all time, but 280,000 hard miles speaks highly of its durability.

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Inside, things look… sturdy, like a police car or some other no-nonsense fleet vehicle. It has held up well, from what we can see, but the seller doesn’t include a photo of the back seat, which seems important given its history. The outside is clean and damage-free, but it is that wild two-tone pink and white.

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No one can say if this car still has any life left in it, at least without a test drive. But it would be sort of interesting to have a colorful car with such a colorful past.

Well, there they are. I can’t say either of them is exactly a good choice, but if you’re expecting decent cars featured here, you haven’t been paying attention. What’s it gonna be?


(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

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64 Responses

  1. I have an inexplicable fondness for Daewoos but would never, ever actually own one. Old car by a dead manufacturer which, at this time, was in the middle of a collapse so bad the chairman fled the country? Probably not going to be great.

  2. neither are really desirable, but a lowish mile motor and probably transaxle for the Bu is not gonna break the bank from LKQ. it might make it a winter as is though and then it really is just what the price and miles suggest, a winter beater.

  3. I don’t know if the Vegas hooptie market is more like your PNW wonderland or my east coast wasteland, but around here any $2,500 car from 2015 would either have to have a failed transmission, blown engine, no title/keys, or all three.

    Based on the assumption that the Chevy is not viable transportation without another grand or two in parts and labor, I’d actually take the cheaper Daewoo in the hopes that I could maybe get a few weeks commuting or a Gambler 500 run out of it without further investment.

  4. I’ll go with the old mantra, “GM cars will run lousy longer than most cars will run at all”. I’ll take the Malibu, although I think I’d spring for a new back seat rather than deal with whatever grossness 280,000 miles of strangers’ asses has wrought. 🙂

  5. the Daewoo has Giugiaro provenance and is getting properly rare. Despite the body damage, that one doesn’t look too rough. Import some parts from Uzbekistan, get it fixed up, and have the most obscure car at Radwood 2030!

  6. Both of these are terrible but for different reasons. The Malibu is probably the better car but there’s just no way I’d buy a taxi without seeing what the back seat looked like, and it’s weird that it doesn’t say if it runs. No, I’d go with the Daewoo, with the understanding that it will die in 18 months and probably treat me terribly the whole time. I want the kind of swagger you can only get from a beat-up example of a bad car with weird paint.

  7. I went Leganza because I have a soft spot for all Daewoos. My dad used to be a Daewoo sales guy in 2000. We got to go to the Chicago Autoshow a whole lot because my dad was a spokesman for Daewoo there too. Good times.

  8. Bu over Woo. You can fix what’s worn out and have recent safety along with decent reliability. No matter how much you fix the Lasagna, it’s still a car that was never trustworthy and helped kill a brand.

  9. GM didn’t own Daewoo in 2000. There was a relationship of sorts, as Daewoo used GM Holden engines and GMPT transmissions, and the Lanos was based on the old LeMans / Opel Kadett platform from the early 80s, but there was also some acrimony which led to Daewoo developing their own models to replace the GM hand-me-downs that they had built before the Lanos, Nubira and Leganza.
    GM did buy many of Daewoo Motor’s assets in 2001 or 2002, following the collapse of the Daewoo empire.

  10. I was going to go with the “cream puff” Daewoo but then I reconsidered. It’s much more likely that the Chevy has at least seen regular maintenance as people tend to take care of things that provide their living. That ‘Woo though was probably bought cheaply by the current owner 30,000 miles ago and hasn’t seen an oil change since changing hands. But hey at least the coolant is constantly fresh thanks to the coolant leak…somewhere.

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