I bought this car brand new in 2000 and this is my review after 8 years of daily driving as the original owner. I have owned many vehicles in my life -- American, European, and Asian -- and the Lanos ...
I bought this car brand new in 2000 and this is my review after 8 years of daily driving as the original owner. I have owned many vehicles in my life -- American, European, and Asian -- and the Lanos has been the most reliable of all those vehicles. In all this time, I have only had to pay for routine maintenance items -- oil/filter changes, new tires, new windshield wiper blades, and new brake pads. There have been NO mechanical problems or other failures of the vehicle.
The Lanos uses a GM-built 4T40E automatic transmission, which is used in several other GM models and is smooth and reliable. It also uses a GM-engineered 1.6-liter double-overhead camshaft engine, with 4-valves per cylinder, producing 105 peak HP. The engine cruises smoothly and quietly at 65 MPH, and is efficient, yielding about 33 MPG overall. The standard power steering is nicely weighted, though perhaps just a bit heavy at expressway speeds. The brakes are nicely modulated and responsive. The build quality is impressive, with narrow and consistent gaps between the body panels.
The Lanos, now discontinued, continues life in its new incarnation as the Chevrolet Aveo.
The car does what it's designed to do well: It is a small, basic, efficient commuter, which is thoroughly reliable, fuel-efficient, and delivers good handling, ride, acceleration, and braking. Interior noise levels are decently muted, with the primary noises being wind rush and tire noise, rather than engine sounds.
Cars like the Lanos are disappearing from the American market because of the ever-present push for "bigger, stronger, faster", which have caused subcompacts like the Corolla and Civic to become much larger, less efficient, and more expensive vehicles. That leaves a gap in the market, where there exists a segment of buyers who prefer small, low-cost, easy-to-park, fuel-efficient cars that perhaps don't inspire fantasies of neck-snapping accleration or impressive doughnuts on slick evening streets, but do otherwise successfully fulfill the need for comfortable and dependable transport with minimum maintenance costs.