Car reviews - Ford - Laser - LXi Liata 5-dr hatch
7 Nov 1994
FORD really dropped the ball with its third-generation KF Laser of 1990. Sure, its Mazda 323-derived steering and handling were class-leading at the time, but its bloated Americanised styling turned Aussie buyers off big time. Add a price hike in recessional times and it's easy how and why Ford made the decision to axe building the car locally at its Sydney plant when the slightly smaller KJ came on stream in the latter part of 1994. The KJ finally had the looks and undisputed Japanese-made (by Mazda) quality to complement its appealing dynamics. But Ford dealers seemed more interested in flogging cheapo Festivas, and Laser sales started to slide further. In some ways the KJ was the best-ever Laser - certainly a lovelier car than its KN/KQ replacement from 1999 to 2002 - as there was no evidence of the cost-cutting a desperate Mazda had implemented when developing its back-to-basics core models.
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Model release date: 1 October 1994 to 1 December 1996
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