The sedan and wagon are designed by Pininfarina, and the hatchback by Giorgetto Giugiaro, and launched in 2002. The hatchback, known as Lacetti-5 in Korea, came later; it was introduced in summer 2003.
Visually identical models are currently also sold as Chevrolet Nubira in some European markets, Chevrolet Optra and Chevrolet Optra5 (hatchback) in Canada, Central America, South America, Pakistan, Arabia, Southeast Asia, and South Africa, Suzuki Forenza and Suzuki Reno (hatchback) in the United States, Buick Excelle and Buick Excelle HRV (hatchback) in China, and Holden Viva in Australia and New Zealand. It is launched in India as Chevrolet SRV in August of 2006.
In Europe, the car was initially sold as Daewoo Lacetti, but by the end of the 2004 it was rebadged as a Chevrolet. As with its home market, in some European markets, the Lacetti name is also used for the entire range of sedan, station wagon and hatchback models on the same J-series platform.
The European models are available with the following three gasoline-powered 4-cylinder engines:
- 1.4 L E-TEC II — 94 hp (69 kW) at 6300 rpm
- 1.6 L E-TEC II — 109 hp (80 kW) at 5800 rpm
- 1.8 L E-TEC II — 122 hp (90 kW) at 5800 rpm (produced by Holden)
In Europe the sedan version was also sold as Daewoo Nubira, but late in 2003 it was announced that Daewoo would be rebranded as a Chevrolet on the European markets and sales of the Chevrolet Nubira began early in 2004, initially only in Eastern Europe. Following the rebranding of Daewoo products as a Chevrolets across Europe, Nubiras were renamed Chevrolet Lacetti on some markets, thereby expanding the Lacetti lineup to include not only a 5-door hatchback, but also sedan and station wagon models, in line with Korea.
The engines built for the Nubira and its badge engineered twins are the same as in Lacetti hatchback and its badge engineered versions. All of them are gasoline-powered 4-cylinder engines.
World touring car championship
Since 2005, the European Lacetti sedan is used as a base for race cars competing in the WTCC touring car championship, and in spring of the same year Chevrolet released the first pictures of a street legal concept car based on the race cars from this championship and called Lacetti WTCC R+. The concept car is powered by an 1.8 L E-TEC II engine available in production models, but with a power increased from 122 PS (90 kW) on 172 PS (127 kW) through supercharging. Its acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) is estimated at 8 seconds and it is able to reach the top speed of 215 km/h (134 mph).
The Chevrolet Lacetti saloon has been used for the 'Star in a reasonably priced car' segment of the BBC's Top Gear TV show since the beginning of their spring 2006 season (Series 8). It was also noted on the 14 May 2006 airing by Jeremy Clarkson that the Lacetti was more nimble around the Top Gear track than the Suzuki Liana.
Since early 2004, various rebadged versions of the Lacetti are also available in the North American market. The cars feature only one engine, a gasoline-powered 2.0 L 4-cylinder E-TEC II made by Holden, developing a maximum power of a 126 hp or 94 kW (US version) or 119 hp or 89 kW (Canadian version) at 5600 rpm.
The Optra is available in Canada in two models, a four door hatchback (the Optra5), and an Optra Wagon, all in base or LS trim levels. All are powered by the 2.0 L inline-4 engine, rated at 119 hp (89 kW) at 5400 rpm and 126 ft·lbf (171 N·m) of torque at 4000 rpm, driving the front wheels through either a 5-speed manual transmission or a four speed automatic. The car is positioned as a versatile and fun to drive but affordable budget compact family car. Brakes are disc, front and rear. The Optra currently slots between the Cobalt and the Aveo.
Independent suspension, 15 inch wheels, and CD player are standard on the base sedan, with optional ABS and air conditioning; the LS adds standard air conditioning and cruise control, and an optional sunroof. Length is 177.7 in (4515 mm) on a 102.4 in (2600 mm) wheelbase; width is 67.9 in (1725 mm), height 56.9 in (1445 mm) and weight 2756 lb (1250 kg). The sedan is rated as an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle.
The Optra5 hatchback was added to the lineup in 2005 and is more contemporary in styling and equipment, with projector type headlights, clear taillight lenses, blackout grille, and minimal front and rear overhang with length only 169 in (4295 mm) on the same wheelbase, height, and width. Weight is 2765 lb (1254 kg). In addition to the same options available on the sedan base and LS models, an options package containing alloy wheels, sunroof, spoiler, leather steering wheel and shift knob, and steering wheel mounted controls for the 8 speaker audio system is in keeping with the younger enthusiast market.
The Optra Wagon was also added to the lineup in 2005 but shares styling with the sedan. While wheelbase and width are also shared with the sedan, the wagon is taller at 59.1 in (1500 mm) and slightly longer at 179.7 in (4565 mm), and heavier at 2855 lb (1295 kg). The wagon has standard alloy roof rails, 60/40 folding rear seat, and a 12 volt power outlet in the rear compartment, in addition to the same options available on the sedan base and LS models.
The sedan, along with the Chevrolet Cavalier, were dropped for 2006.
- Official Korean Website
- Official U.S. Sedan Site
- Official U.S. Wagon Site
- Official U.S. Hatchback Site
- chevrolet/optra/index.jsp Official Canadian Site
- Chevrolet Lacetti Outdoor Ads