2006 Chevrolet Matiz 0.8S - an owners impression

The rising cost of fuel prompted us to consider buying a more fuel efficient car. My father-in-law bought a Daewoo Matiz car last year and has been very impressed. The info from Chrevrolet UK indicates a very economical car . This is the latest version of this model and has been revised but the last test was done in 2005. To help other prospective buyers I will give my impressions of this car along with an ongoing diary about it.

Reasons for selecting the Matiz

We have been using a 2 litre Nissan Primera since moving to Devon 15 months ago. We live in a small town but we both work in a rural village some 6 miles away. There are no regular bus services that accommodate our shift work so we have to use a car. The route is a mile in urban conditions but with no stop/start and then on to the highway for 5 miles. According to the official Government authenticated figures the Matiz 0.8 is achieving an average 54 mpg and under extra-urban conditions (which we will be using it for) it is achieving 67 mpg. We are hoping to save GBP70/month on fuel and maintenance costs.

The tail lights have been redesigned and the reversing and fog lamps are now included in the lower bodywork. There is also no indication of the model type in the badging on the rear of the vehicle or anywhere for that matter.

<<< Click on the picture for more detail

The door mirrors on the 0.8S are not colour keyed. The bonnet has been redesigned so that it curves much like some of the latest MPV's. This makes the lines much smoother and more attractive than earlier models. The car is quite high which makes for easy access and exit but does have draw backs which I will discuss later.

With the new smoother nose section they have included a more modern headlight housing which also incorporates the indicator lamps. All these modifications will make for improved the aerodynamics of the car.

The engine bay is neat. The little 3 cylinder engine is fuel injected and the sound insulation is good.

The car is fairly basic and the doors are lined with a moulded plastic panel and the side mirrors are adjusted using the toggles. The windows are the old fashioned winder type. The 1L model has electric windows and mirror adjustment. The 0.8S does have central locking but not remote locking which is available on the 1L.

The interior is fairly basic as well. The finish is fair. The seats lack sufficient side cushioning, but since it being used for short runs it is adequate. The seat back adjustment is via a lever which you can see. Do not try adjusting the seat on the move as it falls into the full recline position! There is adequate leg and head room for anyone of average height and, as said earlier, because it is fairly high, entry and exit is easy. The pedals are fairly close together which might be a problem if you have big feet. There are airbags for both driver and front passenger. The steering is power assisted and is very light. Because it is so small the turning circle is excellent and very easy to get in and out of tight spaces The clutch is extraordinarily light. The instrument panel is centrally mounted and the diagnostic panel is in front of the steering wheel. I have owned a previous car with this configuration and it had the speedometer in front of the steering which is a much better option.

The instrument panel is adequate with the rev counter on the left, speedometer in the centre and fuel gauge on the right. There is no temperature gauge. Personally I prefer to be aware that there may be a problem rather than to informed of serious problem. There is temperature hazard warning lamp in the diagnostic panel in front of the steering wheel. The 8.0S does not have a clock but the 1.0L does. The odometer also has two trip meters as well.

The diagnostic panel behind the steering wheel has most of the common diagnostic lights one would expect in a modern vehicle. The lights, indicator and windscreen wiper stalks are in the standard European positions on either side of the steering column with the indicator/lights on the left and wipers on the right

First impressions.

When we took delivery of the car on the 28th February 2007 it had done just 4 miles. It was a very stormy day with winds gusting up to 70 miles an hour. The trip back from Exeter was very exciting. I mentioned earlier that the car is fairly high, well this, combined with the very light weight makes it very exciting in strong wind. I was very impressed with the acceleration and agility relative to the size of the engine. The engine, being very new, was very tight. I have found it very pleasant to drive and park. It does struggle with long uphill gradients but that is to be expected. On flat straight stretches it gets to 70 mph very easily. The 3 cylinder engine has a typical off-beat note which is not unpleasant. The sound insulation is very good and most of the time the engine is not that audible. The road noise is about average. The ride is fairly hard. Given that the car is fairly high and narrow the body roll is not that significant which is probably due to the hard suspension. The back pillars are fairly big and the rear window is small so rear vision is somewhat obscured when reversing some care is necessary.

How manufacturers in the EU obtain their official consumption and emmission figures.

Please the read this article about how vehicle manufacturers obtain their performance figures. It makes very interesting reading but one questions whether an EU testing centre should not be doing the testing instead of manufacturers. A manufacturer has a lot to gain but an independent tester has only it's own reputation to consider!


11th March 2007:- The initial week has been average to disappointing fuel consumption wise. We did 230 miles in a week and I filled the tank at a quarter full. Tests that I have seen indicate this car should do around 400 miles on a tank. The calculations show a consumption of 38.52 mpg (7.37l/100km) which is poor but I put this down to the engine still being very tight. The fuel cost per mile is 10p. We have been keeping the revs below 3500 rpm. The engine and mechanicals are loosening up by the day and the performance continues to improve so lets hope the fuel consumption does too.

25th March 2007:- Second filling of the tank and the fuel consumption is marginally better at 38.72 mpg (7.35l/100km) and fuel cost is 10p/mile. The engine still feels tight, particularly when cold, so it may take some miles before the engine really loosens up. The car has now done 500 miles.

Comment made by a visitor on Friday 6th April 2007;
"Just read your impressions of the Chevrolet Matiz. I previously had a 796cc Daewoo Matiz, which averaged 47 mpg.(some motorway, some local driving)I bought a Chevrolet Matiz (secondhand, 457 miles on the clock, same engine) and was expecting it to do about 15% more mpg. I do the same trips as the old Matiz and it averages 41 MPG! I agree the engine did feel a little tight to start, especially noticeable when taking your foot off the throttle, but I've now done about 2500 miles and MPG is still the same...very disappointing. I mentioned it to the receptionist at the Chevrolet dealership and she told me frankly that I was getting better figures than most...she had one herself and was only getting about 38 MPG. I've also noticed that my new one doesn't have the power of my old one, which had done 62000 miles, and 'has' to be driven a lot harder.....very very disappointing!"

27th April 2007:- We have been driving the car normally since the last fill and the fuel consumption has improved again and is now 39.58mpg (7.18l/100km) which is 1 mpg more than when new. The price of petrol has increased from 85.9 to 89.9p/l and the cost of fuel per mile is still 10p. The car has now done over 700 miles

6th May 2007:- The engine has loosened up a lot and it is very noticeable. It must be summer because the price of fuel is on the rise again and at the last fill I paid 93.9p/L. Had the opportunity to top up with cheaper fuel today and there is a dramatic improvement in consumption. I have covered 197 miles since the last fill and put in 20.62L today and the fuel consumption was 43.54 mpg (6.53L/100km) which is a 10% improvement. I am starting to feel a bit happier! The fuel cost per mile has however increased due to the increased fuel price to 13p/mile.

20th May 2007:-The car is going very well but still feels like it is loosening up. The consumption has been marginally worse on this tankful. Have covered 245.5 miles and the price has increased again to 94.9p/L. The average fuel consumption was 41.85 mpg (6.79L/100km) and the cost per mile was 10p. The one thing that is important is ensuring that tyre pressure is set to 30psi as per the specifications. I checked the the pressures and they were all around the 33psi mark (from the agent). Having lowered them to the correct level I found the car far less reactive to the wind. Which makes sense of course.

29th May 2007:-Topped up the tank again. Have done 159 miles and used 17.32L of fuel. The consumption is almost the same as last time at 41.80 mpg (6.80L/100km) and the cost was 10p/mile.

8th June 2007:- Have done two trips of about 150 miles on A roads averaging about 50mph. Have covered 293 miles and used 32.68L. The consumption has increased slightly, which I found surprising. The price has increased again to 96.9p/L. I suspect we are being ripped off again! The consumption was 40.81 mpg (6.97L/100km) and the price of fuel per mile has increased to 11p/mile.

22nd June 2007:-The consumption looked really good but something strange happened at the pump. When I filled, I filled the tank right up to the top. The reading was 41.14L. Now the maximum capacity of the tank, according to the manual, is 35L. The only explanations are that the meter on the fore court petrol pump is incorrect or as I have found in this document it is possible to displace the air in the top of the tank completely, or it is a combination of both. The result is that this is the worst consumption figure that I have had. I covered 330 miles and the consumption is 36.52mpg (7.79L/100km) and the fuel cost per mile is 12p. I am sure that this is not correct but i will have to standardise the method that I use to fill up. Perhaps stop at the first click.

8th July 2007:-Topped up the tank again today because of the special at TESCO. Had used just over a quarter of a tank. It is all a bit strange as I had that funny occurrence filling the last time and the car did 120 miles before the needle even moved off the full mark. The consumption is very low in relation to other figures. Have done 255.2 miles and added 18.51L and the cost was 90.96p/L because of the special discount from TESCO. The consumption was 63.98 mpg (4.45L/100km) and the cost per mile was 7p. If the figures are averaged with the last fill it works out at 50.25 mpg. Perhaps we are getting closer to the quoted figures. She is running very well and cruising quite happily at 70 mph.

20th July 2007:-Filled today and the consumption figure is 42.47 mpg (6.70L/100km) and the cost per mile is 10p.

27th July 2007:-The car has been running really well. The consumption this week was 45.29 mpg (6.28L/100km) and the cost is still 10p/mile.

7th August 2007:-The consumption continues to improve which indicates to me, that it is still in the running-in phase. We did 247 miles and I added 23.98L. This worked out at 46.9 mpg (6.06L/100km) and the cost of fuel per mile was 9p

18th August 2007:- Again the consumption figures continue to improve. We covered 225 miles and topped up with 21.71L of fuel. The consumption was 47.59 mpg (5.98L/100km) and the fuel cost per mile was 9p. I have done a fairly long trip to Hampshire but we were held up in a massive traffic jam for 2 hours and the figures don't look correct but this may relate to the amount of cheap fuel I forced into the tank while there. I will average it with the next fill.
I was very impressed with the car on this trip. Once up to cruising speed she went effortlessly at 70mph. I anticipated the foot-flat syndrome normally associated with small cars but it was nothing like that at all, and it was a very pleasant trip to and from home.

21st August 2007:-The overall figures for the trip to Hampshire are pretty much in line with the previous figures. I believe they have been distorted by being stuck in the traffic jam for 2 hours and would have been much better. We covered 381 miles and used 38.63L of fuel. The average consumption was 44.88mpg (6.34L/100km). The figures were individually 33.71mpg going there and 61.10mpg coming back.

17th September 2007:-We have done 4100 miles now and the consumption is averaging 47.5 mpg and fuel cost per mile is 9p. The engine is still not fully run-in and continues to improve. The consumption figures continue to improve gradually.

12th October 2007:-Seem to have run into a bad patch with regards to fuel consumption which someone also reported at this mileage. Have done 4500 miles and the fuel consumption is again back to around 39mpg. There is no change in use or driving style and I am unable to explain the reason. The only difference is that I have filled with generic Supermarket fuel, whereas I normally use branded fuel because there are no large supermarkets in the local area. If you have also experienced poor consumption with generic fuel I would be interested to hear about it. I believe that they are adding 10% ethanol to the fuel and it is in fact biofuel, but I do not know this for certain.

The car is running very well and continues to impress. The only thing of note is that the body is made of very thin metal and dents very easily. The car is parked in a parking area during the day and is already showing small dents on the doors where other people have banged them whilst opening their doors.

5th January 2008:-It's nearly 3 months since I made an entry. We have used the Matiz on mixed journeys and the consumption has not changed markedly. It averages around 48mpg on the longer trips (extra-urban) and around 44mpg locally (mostly extra-urban).These figures are bear no comparison to the official figures of 67mpg and 54mpg. (see article above on how they do the testing). To my mind the figures achieved are too different to ignore and one must question whether they are truly realistic. The fuel cost per mile has gone up and is now in the order of 11p/mile.

We have done 7700 miles now. What has been noticeable, is that with the onset of winter, the engine is still very tight when cold. Something that I have also noticed is that the Matiz takes much longer to get to operating temperature in comparison to the Primera. Most modern cars have a quick warm-up design. This would certainly affect the consumption. The car is due for its first major service next month. The instrument panel continues to shutdown completely, periodically, for a few seconds to half a minute. I will publish a table of my figures for the year, next month.

13th February 2008:-The car has had its first major service at the agents. I raised the issue of the instrument panel dying periodically with them. They have not come across this before and neither had Chevrolet Technical Dept. They have promised to investigate and come up with a solution. Found the staff very helpful. Unfortunately after leaving, water started dripping from the interior light fitting which I found very strange. Contacted the agents and the car had been washed using a pressure washer (something they specifically say not to do in the owners manual!). I arranged for them to look at it. Examination revealed that the aerial was the cause and was actually loose and hence water had been able to penetrate. The agents have repaired it under warranty. They have told me that the seal on the aerial was actually cracked and they have replaced this and used a sealant as well. This is, apparently, a known problem with the car.

The weather has been very mild and the fuel consumption reflects this, as we achieved 48mpg this week and the fuel cost per mile is 10p. The technical adviser at the agent advised that following this service, I can anticipate very much improved performance. The car certainly feels really good. We shall see. I am trying some new driving techniques to see if I can achieve Chevrolet's quoted consumption figures, or at least get close. Will post details later.

27th February 2008:-Well it's almost a year since we took the delivery of this car. Overall we have been very happy. We have had no problems and basically it has done what it says "on the box". The one obvious thing that has changed since the service is the fact that car warms up much quicker, in fact half the time it was doing before. I am not sure if they use a different thermostat during the first period. The consumption is pretty good too. It gave 46.1 mpg (6.17L/100km) and the cost of fuel per mile was again 10p.

Annual figures for 2007/08:-
Total miles: 9290
Total Litres: 969.34
Total cost: GBP946.64
Fuel consumption: 43.61 mpg (6.52L/100km)
Fuel cost per mile: 10p

3 May 2008:-The warmer weather has arrived and fuel consumption has improved dramatically. The last 2 tanks of fuel have yielded 52 and 55 mpg and I am very impressed. Average consumption since the beginning of March 2008 is now 46mpg. Despite unleaded fuel now costing UKP 1.10/L the cost of fuel per mile is 9p.

12th September 2008:-Have had no problems at all and very happy with the performance and consumption. The half year figures over the summer months are a vast improvement;
Miles covered: 4413
Average fuel consumption: 48.92(5.81L/100km)
Average fuel cost per mile: 10p
The average cost per mile has remained the same, despite the huge increase in cost, which has been a great advantage.

28th February 2009:-The car has been through it's annual service. No problems at all during the year and it continues to be a very pleasing little car. The annual consumption figure is a big improvement on last year;
Annual mileage: 7766
Fuel consumption: 47.28 mpg (6.01L/100km)
Fuel cost per mile: 10p

9th September 2009:-My wife has been using the car for long distance commuting and the consumption figures for the last 6 months reflect this fact;
Fuel consumption:51.22 mpg (5.55L/100km)
Fuel cost per mile: 9p

Given the rising cost of fuel in the UK, these figures are very impressive. We have had absolutely no problems over the last six months and she is running like a dream. It would appear that this version of the Matiz is no longer as they have now stopped production and the new version will be launched in the UK in 2010. Fingers crossed that the new car meets the same criterion of being an economical car at an affordable price.

28th February 2010:-Sadly the Matiz is no more. Ours had its final in-warranty service in February. Only needed new tyres which is not bad after 27500 miles. Whilst it was in for service the new Spark was delivered to the dealer. Nice little car but sadly more expensive. Rant; the manufacturers should have realised the success of the Matiz was due, in no small part, to the fact that it was a basic car at reasonable price which many could afford. The Spark price puts it into competition with many cars which are a similar price. I personally don't think the Spark is anything spectacular and brand loyalty would not make me buy one.
The final figures; Fuel consumption average for 2009: 50.12mpg (5.67l/100km) and average price per mile: 9p
Since the car is out of warranty and production, this is my final entry. If you want any more information, I will still be recording consumption figure just not publishing them here.
It was a great little car and we are very pleased that we bought it. We are terribly sad that they are not producing more but that is the way of the world and you never know it may become a "cult" car like the Mini and have a similar following. To all that read my journal and contacted me I thank you for the trouble and hope you enjoyed it. It was great taliking to all of you and interestingly everyone that did contact me was very impressed. Over and out for now.

I hope you find the information useful and enjoy the site. If you have any suggestions or comments or would like to contact me then please e-mail me
Rob Oats
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