Daewoo Lacetti, aka Holden Viva at some point in Australia, is a C-segment or compact car manufactured by Daewoo/GM since 2002. It is built on the Daewoo J200 platform and has a front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout, preceded by Daewoo Nubira and succeeded by Holden/Chevrolet Cruze.
Pininfarina designed the 4-door sedan and 5-door wagon body styles, while Giorgetto Giugiaro styled the hatchback. These three styles were marketed internationally, but only the sedan was released in Australia in 2003 under the Lacetti name until 2004. It remained in the market for the rest of the first generation as the Holden Viva.
The Daewoo Lacetti Premiere (J300), aka Holden Cruze (a rebadged Chevrolet Cruze), was released in 2008. It is referred to as the Lacetti’s second generation but also its successor. You may read more about the J300 generation in our separate article on the Holden Cruze.
First Generation J200: Daewoo Lacetti (2002–2004)
Lacetti comes from the Latin word, Lacertus, which means youthful. Daewoo wanted this compact car to appeal to young, fun-loving people. And indeed, the Lacetti is a versatile, budget-friendly car that’s perfect for driving to school or work and city cruising.
It took Daewoo over two years to develop the Nubira-based Lacetti, launching the Pininfarina-designed sedan in 2002 and the Giugiaro-designed hatch in 2003. Though wearing the same nameplate, the sedan and hatchback differed significantly in both their interior and exterior styling, although mechanically, they are identical. The wagon, a derivative of the sedan, debuted in 2004 at the Geneva Motor Show.
Below are the sedan trim levels offered in Australia for the first two years (2003-2004) under the Daewoo Lacetti badge:
- Base model – 1.8-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine paired with 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual gearbox (90 kW, 165 Nm); featured dual front airbags, air-conditioning, alarm system/remote anti-theft, central locking/RC, engine immobiliser, power mirrors/steering/windows, and radio CD with six speakers
- Limited (2003 only) – 1.8-litre Family II 4-cylinder petrol engine paired with a 4-speed automatic transmission (90 kW, 165 Nm); adds to the base: ABS, auto air-con/climate control, 15-inch alloy wheels, CD player with 6-CD stacker, leather steering wheel and upholstery, and side airbags
First Generation J200: Holden Viva (2005–2009)
With GM taking over Daewoo, most models went through name-changing and rebadging. Holden began marketing the Daewoo Lacetti as Holden Viva from 2005 to 2009, but this time, with all the three body styles.
- Base model, sedan – 4-door/5-seat; 1.8-litre Family II 4-cylinder petrol engine paired with 4-speed automatic transmission or 5-speed manual gearbox (89 kW, 169 Nm); standard equipment included dual front and side front airbags, air-conditioning, central locking remote control, engine immobiliser, power mirrors, power steering, power windows front, radio CD with four speakers, seatbelts with pretensioners (front)
- Base model, hatchback – 5-door/5-seat; 1.8-litre Family II 4-cylinder petrol engine paired with a 4-speed automatic transmission or 5-speed manual gearbox (89 kW, 169 Nm); same as sedan’s standard equipment plus a rear spoiler
- Base model, wagon – 5-door/5-seat; 1.8-litre Family II 4-cylinder petrol engine paired with 4-speed automatic transmission or 5-speed manual gearbox (89 kW, 169 Nm); same as the sedan’s standard equipment plus power windows and roof racks
A limited-edition Equippe trim was on offer in 2006 for all body styles. It used the same engine as in all the previous releases but added the ABS, 15-inch alloy wheels and power windows.
The Viva/Lacetti was Holden’s budget alternative to Holden Astra. Despite this market positioning, the Holden Viva could only attain 50% of Astra’s sales performance. Its market share continued to decrease with the release of the Holden Cruze in 2009, for which reason, Holden pulled it out from the market.
Second Generation J300: Daewoo Lacetti Premiere (2008–2011)
GM built the J300, which is often called the second-generation Lacetti. It is, however, correctly treated as a separate model, the Chevrolet Cruze, branded only in South Korea as the Daewoo Lacetti Premiere. Please refer to our Lacetti article here.
Top Gear’s Reasonably-Priced Car
Though short-lived, Lacetti made its mark as Suzuki Liana’s successor as the new reasonably-priced car in BBC’s automotive segment called Top Gear’s Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car. Celebrities (the ‘Star’) who guest in the show set timed laps driving the Lacetti (the ‘Reasonably-Priced Car’) on Top Gear’s test track in Surrey, UK.