Flash Back to the '80s with MotorWeek's 1983 Family Hatchback Comparison Test

Flash Back to the '80s with MotorWeek's 1983 Family Hatchback Comparison Test

Screenshot: MotorWeek

Believe it or not, 1983 was 40 years ago. How that happened, we’re still not entirely sure, but whatever. No time for another existential crisis today. We’ve got hatchbacks to talk about. Specifically, the four hatchbacks that MotorWeek included in the latest “compare-a-car road test” that television’s automotive magazine just posted on its YouTube channel.

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They’re not exactly the most exciting cars that MotorWeek has ever tested, but they do make us long for the days when family sedans weren’t only offered with boring old trunks. Although we certainly won’t complain about how much quicker cars have gotten in the last 40 years. In the test, the Stanza took 13.7 seconds to hit 60 mph, and the quickest car in the group, the Pontiac Phoenix, still needed 11.7 seconds to get up to speed.

And while John Davis’s use of “Oriental” to describe the Japanese contenders certainly hasn’t aged well, the design of the Mazda 626 definitely has. It looks dated, sure, but we’d argue it still looks fantastic. And who doesn’t love oscillating air vents? Why Mazda stopped using those, we’ll never understand. They were cool, Mazda! Getting rid of them was rude, and we don’t appreciate it one bit.

As far as which car won and how they all stacked up at the end of the test, we’re not going to spoil anything. If you want to know how well the Toyota Camry did, you’ll have to watch the video for yourself. Just make sure you have some time to dedicate to watching it because, unlike a lot of the retro reviews that MotorWeek posts on YouTube, this one’s nearly a half-hour long. On the other hand, that means you get almost 30 minutes of listening to John Davis, which sounds like a pretty great deal to us.

1983 Family Sized Hatchback comparo | Retro Review