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Car reviews - Seat - Ibiza - CLX 5-dr hatch

Used Rivals

25 Jun 2003

By MALCOLM LIVERMORE

HOLDEN SB 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.

FORD WB-F FESTIVA 5D 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.

HYUNDAI X3 EXCEL 5D HATCHBACK (1994-2000)
DESPITE the roomy cabin, big boot and powerful 1.5-litre engine, the Excel is hard to recommend. Handling and ride are average, quality and gearchange are poor and its souring reputation affects resale value.

NISSAN K11 MICRA 5D 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.

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