I first blogged about my current car – Lorraine – back in April, 2004. It has been 8 years I’ve driven this car. It’s a Chevrolet Optra 1.6, a 2003 make (but bought new in 2004). I’ve been through thick and thin with her, and a recent spate of bad experiences concerning its spare parts, has made me decide to change my ride to a newer one. But before that, I would like to write about the experience – of owning a Chevrolet in Malaysia. I’m sure not many of you are interested, but I’m gonna write it anyway.
But before I dwell into the details, I would like to touch a little bit on some general info about this model. In case you do not know, this model is actually a Daewoo Lacetti (Google it). It’s not really an American car but a Korean make. It’s just a fucking rebadge to become a Chevy, like that Naza Ria or some shit like that. Back in those days, this car is considered one of the best looking Korean make around and was sold at an affordable price. Wanting to be different and attracted to its minimalist design, I took a leap of faith and bought this thing. BIG. FUCKING. MISTAKE. This is one of the many things I regret, along with the bad taste in fashion and opting to live-in with my late mother. Now, on to the details…
Optra is a great car. It is reasonably good in power for a 1.6 and the handling’s good – I know nuts about body roll / oversteer / that kind of shit but, let’s just say I have had no problem maneuvering around dead carcasses, pot holes, and there was even once I did a fish tail maneuver (out of reflex) to avert an accident. Its ABS saved my life a few times. The bumper’s tough (hit from the rear 3 times, with only a small bump). No major showstopper to date. But there were a lot of minor bad experiences though:
– Wear / tear : The radiator hose had a leak once, and another one time had a leak on the reservoir. Small fixes.
– Wear / tear : Thermostat unit connecting to one of the coolant hose got brittle and registered a minor leak. Changed it to a cast iron type (had to be imported from Thailand).
– Wear / tear : Broken door handle once at the inner part, and another at the outer part (some plastic parts aren’t that good in durability).
– Wear / tear : Locking mechanism went lose a couple of times on both rear doors. Had to get them changed. Some inconveniences registered.
– Wear / tear : Wheel bearing got fucked once and made the car sound like Aedes mosquito fogging machine. Changed it for an arm and a leg. (expensive)
– Fuckloads of times with blown headlights (there is a recall recently about this – read Suzuki Forenza).
– Fuckloads of times with blown taillights. (that was due to the poor design on the socket, which causes intermittent connection and shortened the bulb life. Fixed it myself and got rid of the problem.).
– Leaking antirust gunk below all the doors. No solutions from anyone. Been living with this for 8 years. Fuck me.
– I didn’t like the weird/annoying noise when locking/unlocking this car. Been living with this for 8 years. Fuck me.
– Car has exceptionally high fuel consumption. It may be a 1.6, but it guzzles up fuel like a bitch. 9km per liter of petrol. That’s how bad it is. (gets worse if the traffic’s fucked up).
– Fuckloads of times I had to get the air conditioner fixed. If there’s one fucking problem I have to name about this car, it has to be the goddamn aircon. I’ve changed literally everything there is on this car that has something to do with the fucking aircon. From the hose to the compressor, to the goddamn control unit (which was burnt, almost a safety concern).
Now, this is fucked up. Chevrolet is the epitome of bad services. It’s worse than Proton, I believe. First of all, the Chevrolet brand has changed no less than 5 managements throughout the 8 years of this ownership. (Ridiculous, right??) When I first bought the car, it was under Chye Seng Motor (or something like that) and the only Service Center was located in Bagan fucking Ajam (that was like, going to Sepang from KL city). And the service was fucking abysmal. Parts took months to deliver (as I learned when I ordered some parts that were damaged during the tinting service) and the attitudes of the personnels there were worse than prison wardens. Chye Seng Motor then added another SC in the island near Sg Tiram and shit literally got improved, but not for long. The chief mechanic there left a few months afterwards, and the service turned a few notches down below average. Then there was another management change, SC was then relocated to Autocity. It was alright there, until they shut it down again, and reopened again a few months later under DRB Hicom. Then, it changed again to Cergazam (which was the longest and best period ever – Cergazam was good). And then it changed again recently park under the big shit ass corporation – Naza. It was hell under Naza. Again, shit went back to square one, for Naza was as bad as Chye Seng. Not wanting to go through the same experience again, I opted to change this car once and for all. (and the resale value was unbelievably low)
In a nutshell, owning this car has been a torture. Not because of the car itself, but because of the experience of having to deal with the shitbags that do not know how to run an automobile servicing management. Having to deal with multiple changes in its management hadn’t been impressive at all as well. So, if you have the heart to own a Chevrolet – read this review in depth and get a glimpse of what might happen to you in the future. Me? I’ve had enough, I’m switching back to Japanese.