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Car reviews - Ford - Laser - LXi 4-dr sedan

Used Rivals

7 May 2003

LIKE the Laser, the last Aussie-built Corolla put on weight, which made it quite a large (and quite bland) small car. Even so, it is a well proven, well made car meeting all basic requirements. The 1.6 twin-cam engine drives the front wheels via four-speed auto or five-speed manual. The 1.8 is gutsier.

NISSAN N15 PULSAR 4D SEDAN (1995-2000)
ANOTHER model with a long heritage. Fully-imported by '93, its chunky styling and roomy body won over many buyers, as did the go from its 1.6-litre engine. The front-wheel drive dynamics are about average for the class. Later "Plus" Pulsars proved popular, and included air, central locking and power steering.

MORE of a poverty pack with a GLi's 69kW 1.5 so go for the sparkier 86kW 1.8 GLi from '99 or the better-equipped GLXi. Power steering was standard, but not much else. A good, honest performer with reliable mechanicals and a ready market, the Lancer benefits from the rally-winning EVO model's reputation.

THE South Korean Hyundai's J2 Lantra is a decent small front-wheel drive car if bought cheap, with distinctive style, good equipment levels and a lusty 94kW 1.8-litre engine. Handling and ride are OK too. Sportswagon is more attractive and versatile. Just make sure auto has been serviced regularly.

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