Car reviews - Mazda - 323 - Astina 5-dr hatch
18 Jun 2003
HONDA CIVIC 4D SEDAN (1995-2000)
THE Civic is strong competition for the Astina but not quite as well equipped or comfortable. The engine may be only 1.6-litres but the excellent VTEC valve system lifts power to 88kW and the optional high tech multi-matic transmission proves that automatics can be economical.
VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 5D HATCHBACK (1994-1998)
THE Golf GL might not have sporty character like the Astina but it is a nice, practical package. The equipment list includes dual airbags and from late 1997 air-conditioning. The 2.0-litre, eight-valve engine has 85kW of smooth, useable power and is also economical. But parts and servicing can be expensive.
PEUGEOT 306 5D HATCHBACK (1994-1997)
PEUGEOT's 306 will win buyers with great styling, exceptional ride quality and excellent handling and roadholding. The interior is comfy too, although some bits do fall off too easily. The 1.8-litre, eight-valve engine has 77kW, so it isn't very powerful (and much less so if an auto) but it is smooth and frugal too. Parts and servicing can be expensive.
AUDI 80 4D SEDAN (1993-1995)
CHUNKY Audi body is fastidiously built with a rock-solid feel. The creamy V6 is powerful enough, the automatic gearbox changes well. The ride may feel a little stiff but works well on long runs. Pricey compared to the rivals here but with a different, more luxurious character. Parts and servicing don't come cheap.
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