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Car reviews - Holden - Barina - City 3-dr hatch

Used Rivals

Holden logo9 May 2003

By MALCOLM LIVERMORE

FORD WB FESTIVA 3D HATCHBACK (1994-1996)
MADE by the South Korean Kia company, the Festiva was Ford's low-cost baby. It is front-wheel drive, has a noisy 46kW 1.3 engine with a choice of three-speed auto or five-speed manual, and power steering as standard. Flimsy build, dreary handling, a bouncy ride and cheapo reputation ruin any appeal.

HYUNDAI EXCEL 3D HATCHBACK (1991-1998)
THIS car may have taken the market by storm, but it's as appealing as a wet blanket used. Front-wheel drive, a gutsy 1.5 engine and lots of space appealed, but a problematic four-speed auto, awful five-speed manual and low quality trim are off-putting. Durability problems plagued this model, so it's best avoided.

SUZUKI SWIFT 3D HATCHBACK (1994-2000)
THIS basic little car was also the 1989-1994 Barina. Front-wheel drive with a simple 1.3 engine coupled to a three-speed automatic or five-speed manual. Light, noisy but economical. No power steering as standard is tough. But at least it's well made, reliable and cheap honest transport.

NISSAN MICRA 3D HATCHBACK (1995-1997)
BRITISH built and technically the most advanced of the group with a 1275cc, twin cam, 16-valve engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). A five-speed manual is optional. Power steering is standard. For space efficiency, economy, zippy performance and driver appeal, it's hard to go by.

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