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Car reviews - Honda - Civic - VTi coupe

Used Rivals

18 Jun 2003

PROOF that looks sell. A comfortable, practical and well-equipped cabin continues the sporty theme but the real surprise is Porsche-honed chassis dynamics and the gutsy 2.0-litre engine. Only the badge is wrong, but that means bargain-buying as a used car proposition.

THE top-selling Celica delivers great handling, middling ride quality but a distinctly unsporting 2.2-litre Camry-derived engine. Although it's somewhat powerful and torquey, it hates to rev. SX equipment levels are low but the Toyota's well-deserved reputation and quality make it worthy of consideration.

MAZDA 323 5D HATCHBACK (1994-1998)
STYLISH, practical, versatile body clothes Laser-shared mechanicals. The 1.8-litre engine is smooth, economical and powerful. Interior is functional but a little dark. Rear seat headroom suffers from fastback roofline. But who cares? Astina's distinctive looks and renowned reliability make it a sporty winner.

PEUGEOT 306 3D HATCHBACK (1997-1999)
FACELIFTED version of popular 306 features greatly improved build quality, revised interior, a stronger body and a gutsier 1.8 engine with twin cams and 16-valves. Happily, Peugeot did not mess with the 306's great looks or class-leading handling. However parts and servicing can get a little expensive.

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