Car reviews - Daewoo - Cielo - GL 3-dr hatch
7 May 2003
HYUNDAI X3 EXCEL 3D HATCHBACK (1994-2000)
Looks, space and keen pricing seduced hundreds of thousands of Aussies, but that doesn't mean that the X3 Excel is a good thing. Suspect durability and reliability, unrefined drivetrains and a truly unappealing interior outweigh any perforance and practicality benefits. Plus it's got a cheapo image.
HOLDEN SB BARINA 3D HATCHBACK (1994-2001)
THE Spanish-built City's smart styling, sassy cabin and Euro chicness are outweighed by the slug of a 33kW 1.2 litre engine, a drag of a manual gearbox, and dullsville dynamics. The '96 44kW 1.4 version is better, but the best by far is the post-August '97 facelift with its 60kW 1.4 and improved dynamics.
FORD WB FESTIVA 3D HATCHBACK (1994-1996)
EVEN less appealing than the X3 Excel, the South Korean-built (by Kia) Festiva has cheapness written all over it, from its wispy 46kW 1.3-engine, flimsy build quality and awful dynamics to the tippy-toed styling. Not nice to look at and equally unhappy to drive, the Festiva is below par in most respects.
NISSAN K11 MICRA 3D HATCHBACK (1995-1997)
AS good as the others aren't, the British-built Micra failed due to high prices. Yet, over its rivals, it displayed superior performance from a 55kW 1.3, good dynamics, excellent packaging, driving pleasure and real character. Plus it looks great, even today. A future classic, and a bargain to boot.
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