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

Used Rivals

Hyundai logo18 Jun 2003

By MALCOLM LIVERMORE

FORD WB FESTIVA 3D HATCHBACK (1994-2000)
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.

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.

NISSAN K11 MICRA 3D HATCHBACK (1995-1997)
AS good as the Excel isn'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.

SUZUKI SWIFT 3D HATCHBACK (1994-2000)
THE Cino was a price leader when new but equipment is minimal - not even remote adjustment for the rear view mirrors - and it is a relatively old design, so dynamically it is below average. The Cino's strong points are its light weight and willing 1.3-litre engine which give it good performance and exceptional fuel consumption.

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