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Car reviews - Toyota - Starlet - Life 3-dr hatch

Used Rivals

23 Jul 2003

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.

Looks, space and keen pricing seduced hundreds of thousands of Aussies, but that doesn't mean that the X3 Excel is a good thing. Suspect durability and reliability, unrefined drivetrains and a truly unappealing interior outweigh any perforance and practicality benefits. Plus it's got a cheapo image.

STYLISH, sensible, well-made, zippy, roomy, comfortable, refined and pleasant to drive, the Japanese-built Mirage is half a class above these rivals, although it is limited to a three-door only package. Not so nice without power steering either. Does nothing badly.

EUROPEAN dynamics, Japanese reliability, contemporary styling, real versatility, decent pace, excellent economy and good touring ability make fun Micra the enthusiast's choice. CVT-auto on slightly pricier SLX never bettered in class.

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