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The VW Polo is closest in concept to the Fiesta, but no 1,300cc versions are sold in this country. Here we have chosen hatchback rivals: if a back door is not regarded as essential, the competition is even wider.
FORD FIESTA 1.3 GL £3,874 - New version of Britain's most popular hatchback slots in between the basic L and the luxury Ghia. Similar performance to 1300S, which is well above average for the class. Economy is also good, and noise levels have been reduced Ride comfort also appears to be better than before (though still poor over rough surfaces) and handling unchanged: excellent roadholding and high cornering power despite vague steering. Accommodation excellent in relation to size Very good value.
COLT 1400 GLX £3,999 - The first front-wheel drive Colt is a strong contender in the small hatchback class, although neither its performance nor its economy is outstanding. Excellent roadholding and handling, very stable in crosswinds; ride slightly better than average in most conditions Good brakes. Slick, fast gearchange, but the "Super-Shift" (which gives a total of eight forward gears) has dubious benefit over a good five-speed gearbox. Accommodation fair.
FIAT STRADA 65 CL £3,643 - First of a new generation of front-wheel-drive hatchback Fiats, the Strada does nothing especially well, or especially badly, having safe, if rather unsporty handling, a fairly pliable ride and average performance. Gearchange lacks precision, but CL version has fifth gear for very relaxed motorway cruising. Fuel economy fair and interior appointments lavish for class. Very well priced.
MAZDA 1400 SP £3,899 - More powerful and overtly sporting 1 4 litre version of Toyo Kogyo's 323 Hatchback Conventional both in looks and engineering, having a live rear axle. Spacious interior but poor luggage room. Versatile with optional split rear seat, hatch has large aperture. Slick gearchange and comfortable ride. Very well equipped Lively but noisy when driven hard.
RENAULT 5TS £3,935 - Impressive sporty/luxury version of Renault's smallest model Very generous accommodation with rear seat folded down. Good handling and roadholding despite big angles of roll. Superb ride. Brisk performance and good economy from lively 1289 cc engine Gearchange not as good as some rivals A refined responsive variant of a popular car.
VAUXHALL CHEVETTE 1.3 GL £3,772 - Despite changes made to the Chevette for 1980 that have improved economy and rear seat space, Vauxhall's continuing old generation world car derivative is beginning to show a few grey hairs when compared to more modern fwd rivals. Handling, economy and gear-change remain very good but ride and refinement are mediocre and performance now below-par.