Car reviews - Nissan - Micra - SLX 5-dr hatch
20 Jun 2003
HOLDEN BARINA 5D 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.
FORD FESTIVA 5D 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.
SUZUKI SWIFT 5D HATCHBACK (1994-2000)
BASIC and cheap. Front-wheel drive powered by a 1.3-litre, carburettor engine driving through a three-speed auto or five- speed manual. Radio/cassette is the only luxury. Super light at 795kg, giving good economy but not much crash protection. Great around town though, and long lasting too.
HYUNDAI EXCEL 5D HATCHBACK (1994-1998)
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.
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