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Car reviews - Hyundai - Excel - Sprint 3-dr hatch


18 Dec 1994

CHEAP? Sure, but cheerful? Early Hyundai Excels were definitely the former but not the latter. The South Korean giant's formula was simple and effective: get an outsider (say, Giugiaro of Italy for the '86 X1 and '90 X2) to style an attractive body, making sure it was slightly larger than the segment norm, and then built it down to a price and flog it off at bargain-basement prices. Like a super-sized meal from a fast-food chain, the results certainly fulfill basic needs but there sure is a deficit of quality. Hyundai didn't really turn the corner until the mid-'90s with the J2 Lantra and its '96 Coupe spin-off, but the Excel lingered until the far-improved Accent arrived in mid-2000. The 2002 Getz, meanwhile, is a good thing, but that's jumping ahead of ourselves. The 1994 X3 Excel, also good looking and well packaged, was pretty woeful regardless in core areas, which makes its huge popularity here all the more disappointing. At one stage it even became Australia's best-selling privately bought car! Durability isn't its strong suit, nor is its build quality. Flimsy construction and materials and low refinement and comfort levels are everyday Excel traits. At least it performed better than its predecessors, and handled OK too. Don't be fooled by the vast numbers sold, there are much better used cars out there.
Model release date: 1 November 1994 to 1 June 2000

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