Chevrolet Tuning the
Lacetti / Optra / Nubira / Viva

"Thanks for reading our Chevrolet Lacetti tuning guide."

The Lacetti is a great car modification project to have.

It was so popular and versatile it sold well in many markets and got to wear many different badges and names, for essentially the same Pininfarina design and hatchback Giorgetto Giugiaro.

Think carefully and research Lacetti tuning to avoid making the usual common errors we frequently get told about.

The Lacetti had many badges and names over it's production run.

  • Chevrolet Lacetti (Europe, hatchback, 2005–2009)
  • Chevrolet Optra (Asia, South America, Canada, Mexico, South Africa)
  • Chevrolet Optra5
  • Chevrolet Estate (Indonesia)
  • Chevrolet Nubira (Europe, station wagon and sedan, 2005–2009)
  • Daewoo Nubira (Europe, sation wagon and sedan, 2002–2005)
  • Daewoo Gentra (Uzbekistan)
  • Holden Viva (Australia)
  • Ravon Gentra (Russia)
  • Suzuki Reno (United States, hatchback)
  • Suzuki Forenza (United States, sedan)

2008 saw a refresh with the Premiere badge, but was essentially a Chevrolet Cruze.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums


Handling/Suspension upgrades

Improving the handling for many people first priority in your Lacetti tuning project.

Adding a small amount of negative camber to the front and a few degrees of toe in to improve stability or toe out for better cornering, will dramatically improve your Lacetti in handling and cornering.

We would go to a maximum drop of 30mm - 36 mm. on most models. You risk compromising your handling if you go lower than this.

Our aim in engine tuning should be to increase peak power and torque at the top end.

Spending a little money on the top engine and handling parts should transform your car into a high performance car.

Smaller engines do not provide much of a return in terms of power so start with a bigger engine. Engine swaps are a good option if you have a small engine size.

Lacetti / Optra / Nubira Engine Tuning.

These mods modifications are usually installed by our members, decide how far you wish to go in your tuning project before you begin.

J200 2002–2009

  • 1.4 L E-TEC I4 (petrol)
  • 1.5 L E-TEC I4 (petrol)
  • 1.6 L E-TEC I4 (petrol)
  • 1.6 L E-TEC I4 (petrol/CNG; Optra CNG)
  • 1.8 L Family II I4 (petrol)
  • 2.0 L Family II I4 (petrol)
  • 2.0 L RA 420 I4 (diesel)

(J300; 2008–2011)

See Cruze

Getting the correct grade of tuning mods for your planned usage of the car is essential. Stage 3 competition upgrades just won't work well on the road hard to control in slow traffic.

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Suspension upgrade (drop 30mm - 36 mm.), Sports exhaust, Panel air filter, Remap, Lighter flywheel, Alloy wheels.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Ported and polished head, fuel pump upgrades, Power/Sport clutch, high flow fuel injector, Fast road cam.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Sports gearbox, Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Competition cam, Engine balancing, Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves).

You need to keep as much low end power as possible and aim to get a wide power band rather than a narrow top end power hike.

In this article we shall give a limited introduction to the best modifications for your car, but we'd encourage you to spend some time on the site looking into the details of each type of performance upgrade.Fast road cams offer one of the biggest torque gains for your money as far as a single modified modifications goes on a NASP engine.

It maximises the intake and exhaust flow and increases the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a performance chip. We'd also caution you not to go with a competition cam as this affects the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.

Don't forget to ramp up the fuelling when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty.

Most power losses, flat spots and erratic idling after modified kits are done can usually be traced to timing or fuel delivery issues. Higher capacity injectors will enable you to supply sufficient fuel to the engine.

If have increased your fuelling with bigger injectors you will also need to get a bigger fuel pump to supply it.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Now we move on to the intake and exhaust and ensure proper flow through the engine. Induction kits will only help to add power if the air intake is struggling! Adding an induction kit to most stock engines will see NONE OF A LOW END POWER GAIN AT ALL. If you have heavily modified your engine and it's need for air INCREASES DRAMATICALLY then an induction kit is the answer and will help remove this restriction.

Derestricting the air flow into the engine is the primary part of car tuners so get a better flowing air filter if you find that the car is running lean. Induction kits can sound fun but due to the warm air in the engine bay they will not do much to increase power and actually rob you of power on most cars.

Do not go with the biggest exhaust you can get this will slow up the exhaust flow rate - the best for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Getting a professionally ported and polished head with larger valves can fully maximise your power gains. Your clutch can fail as the power goes up if it starts to fail and the standard clutches are only ever good for power gains of up to 43%. Fit a performance clutch to avoid power losses through the transmission. The best mods we would do for your Lacetti are remaps, sports camshafts and induction improvements.

Turbo engines are just crying out to be Upgraded. You will see phenomenal power gains on most modern turbocharged cars including diesels making a remap one of the most cost effective and phenomenal modifications for your money.Despite the large cost involved adding forced induction to a NASP engine will give large power gains. Superchargers are usually easier to add than a turbo. Turbos increase power in exponential proportion to increasing engine speed and this can make mapping difficult.

The nice directly proportional boost and rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them simpler to map. To cope with forced induction you will usually need to decrease the compression ratio of the engine .

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Because alloys are lighter they improve performance and they can help to cool the brake disks.

Pay attention to your choice of tyres (tires) for your car, a good track legal slick tire can really enhance your cars handling. Large Lacetti alloy wheels can decrease performance. If you get big alloy wheels you will be changing your final drive ratio.

Because of this aim to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the standard factory sizes. In all cases we do not recommend going bigger than 17 inches.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss Lacetti options in more detail with our Lacetti owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Chevrolet tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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