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Car reviews - Daihatsu - Charade - CX Luxury 5-dr hatch

Used Rivals

7 May 2003

By MALCOLM LIVERMORE

MAZDA 121 3D HATCHBACK (1987-1990)
DISTINCTIVE styling reveals a hatch with excellent head and boot room. The 1.3 engine is frugal and eager, while the wide track and long wheelbase help give good handling characteristics. But a lack of power steering makes parking a chore, while there's plenty of engine and road noise coming into the cabin.

SUZUKI SWIFT 3D HATCHBACK (1989-1999)
THE strong three-cylinder engine is a little noisy but economical. The Swift's clean, smooth lines hide a roomy though basic interior. Power steering was optional but needed. The ride is a little too firm for some, but the handling is OK. It's also got a good sized boot with a split rear seat.

HOLDEN MF/MH BARINA 5D HATCHBACK (1989-1994)
A REBADGED Suzuki Swift with minor differences. Its 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine is smooth, refined and economical. Lack of power steering is a handicap, especially at lower speeds. Ride, handling, refinement and equipment levels are only average, but overall this is a durable, roomy and handy little hatch.

HYUNDAI X2 EXCEL 5D HATCHBACK (1990-1994)
HYUNDAI'S first foray onto local soil became a success, all due to cheap prices. The Mk2 X2 model was a little bigger and roomier, but still suffers from the quality shortfalls that blighted all Excels. Its unrefined and unpleasant to boot. At least the 1.5 engine is gutsy. Few gear shifts are as horrid.

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