- The original Lucciola concept - by ItalDesign...

The Story Of The Daewoo Matiz...

The Daewoo Matiz landed from space in the late '90s and certainly didn't have an easy arrival. Over 20 years on, is it a good buy?

20w ago

The Daewoo Matiz story is much more interesting than you think - that's because it wasn't actually meant to be a Matiz, it was designed originally as a new version of the Fiat Cinquecento/500.

Daniel's Daewoo Matiz History Lesson...

The striking '90s design was drawn up by one of the best car designers on the planet - Giorgetto Guigario. Giorgetto was named Car Designer of the Decade in 1999 and was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2002. He designed many cars, some being the BMW M1, Lotus Esprit S1, Volkswagen Golf, and even the DMC DeLorean! It's safe to say that he designed some fairly spectacular cars, one of them being the Matiz. Now, let's get back to the story.

The concept was called the ID Cinquecento and was unveiled at the 1992 Turin Motor Show. The three-door concept was finished in white and sported golden wheels, a sliding roof and a funky interior. It was certainly a looker.

A year later, at the Bologna Motor Show, Guigario came back with the Lucciola concept. There were a few changes that would eventually make their way onto the Matiz we all know and love (sort of...)

One of the most fascinating things about the Lucciola concept was that it was powered by a hybrid system - a 2-cylinder diesel engine placed at the front assisted by two electric motors at the rear. The car would be capable of 80km running EV-only.

Sadly, the Italians at Fiat were too interested in pizza and pasta, so decided to reject Guigario's exquisite design - opting for a rather dull design by Polish auto manufacturer FSM. This was their take of the new Fiat motor-car. Yeah, not as imaginative...

The Cinquecento - most-famous from The Inbetweeners TV show...

The Cinquecento - most-famous from The Inbetweeners TV show...

Thankfully, there was a Korean company by the name of Daewoo looking to make a new city car. They entered the UK motoring industry in the mid-90s - making sedans. However, sedans were not what the UK needed at that time, what was needed were small cars. Lovely, eco-friendly small cars! Halleluja.

Daewoo bought the original Lucciola design off Giorgetto Guigario and named it the Matiz. The Matiz journey would finally commence into production, but not for long. Daewoo would soon go bankrupt in 2001 and would be sold to General Motors for the Korean market. So the first-generation Matiz (the M100) would only be in production for a few years.

Luckily, the Matiz would make a return for a second-generation and was updated with a few minor design tweaks. The Matiz was also sold famously as the Chevrolet Spark & Matiz. My neighbour had one, coming to think of it.

End of lesson, time for some chat...

So, that's the story of how the Matiz entered the planet. Unusual, isn't it?

I discovered the Matiz's existence watching the HubNut YouTube channel. Ian Seabrook from HubNut actually has a Matiz in his strong lineup of cars. He actually bought it new in '99, before re-purchasing it again in 2018 for a small sum of £100. You can check out his Matiz (named Myrtle) playlist of videos here...

YouTuber Joe Miller (Miller Corner) also filmed with Myrtle, I recommend a watch of his video too to see what the car is really like out on the road. His reaction is priceless and rests my case.

It's fair to say the Matiz is a barrel of laughs. The 0.8L 3-cylinder engine is pokier than you imagine and sounds almost like an old V6! The 5-speed gearbox is not the nicest, but it all comes down to the price of the car. You can pick up an original Matiz between £200-£400 and seem pretty dependable, parts are cheap too.

I'm not going to lie. I've spent countless evenings on the market just scrolling through these little Daewoo things; they're just so cheerful and honest.

I asked the world of Twitter what they thought, and the views were very mixed. Some people hate them, and some love them. Just take my word for it, because I am correct here, OKAY.

Overall, they are bought as a cheap runabout, but they corrupt your mind and become a friend. I want one, send tissues.

Thank you all for reading, comment down your thoughts and Matiz stories...


Daniel Achterhuis is a 15-year-old automotive journalist at DriveTribe, presenter of 'The Piston Podcast' and YouTube creator. Daniel has written for various newspapers, magazines, and was the youngest-accredited press at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed. He aspires to become a full-time automotive journalist in his later years. Follow him on social media and check out his work here:

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Comments (14)

  • Rubbish, there were better cars at the price at that time. Probably Daewoos best car at the time however all others were crap so that’s no achievement.

      4 months ago
  • There were quite a lots of Daewoo Matiz in India, but that was there only success here I have seen no other Daewoo.

      4 months ago
  • many indian movies had this car as a hero car.

      4 months ago
  • Cinquecento was released before this concept. Actually, FIAT refused this as a 600 idea.

      4 months ago
  • I drove one from Watford to Woolacombe, and back. That is about 400 miles.

    What can I say, apart from I remember the weekend.

    The owner was a Bame.

      4 months ago