2003 Mazda 2 1340cc
If the Honda Jazz had the Mazda's hydraulic steering, it would have been perfect for me
This is a big list…
First major problem was when I asked a tyre company to install longer valve stems, as the stupidly wide wheel trims prevented me from checking tyre pressures. After I got the car back, the ride and handling seemed markedly inferior. They of course denied this. Now the valve stems are long and floppy, and are still difficult to check.
I then had Monroe shocks put in the front. This made absolutely no difference to the appalling low speed ride, and was a waste of $600.
Then the car began misfiring, then running on only 3 cylinders. After a $300 2 year service, this was unfortunate. It cost another $300 to have a coil replaced. BTW, the fuel consumption rose dramatically when it was running poorly.
A year later, the problem cropped up again. My mechanic brother offered to change the spark plugs. Freakishly, the poor running happened when he restarted it, and he soon diagnosed another defunct ignition coil. This cost $200 at trade price to replace - labour was free (thanks, bro!).
Apparently, once the coils start to go, they all go. I can look forward to another $400 minimum on the last two coils, plus a new battery (the original one is finally showing signs of impending demise).
I am on an Invalids benefit due to multiple health problems, and I cannot find a job to pay for these repairs. I thought Japanese cars were reliable? Not in my experience.
I originally thought about buying a Honda Jazz (also called Fit here - not a name ever associated with me!). I was put off by tales of failed CVT transmissions, though apparently this problem is quite rare.
I tried out several cars on an open road loop, and this Mazda was the best to drive, and had a nice cheery interior (I hate all black). I subsequently found that in town it is a very jiggly, unsettled beast. The power is only at the top end, nothing down low. It is not economical. The Honda is a far more relaxing, more effective and economical town car. Pity it has electric power steering, which I loathe.
The 4 speed transmission is pathetic, jerky and always changing inappropriately.
The load area is quite spacious and well designed, but the flexibility is spoiled by the very hard seats, which prevent the folded seats being used as a bed for a roadside rest. They should at least never wear out.
Economy is around 38 MPG, around 10 MPG less than the Honda. It does cruise nicely at 100kph, but with a need to concentrate on steering that would be tiring on long journeys. I have been spoiled for life by prior ownership of a Peugeot 505 - nothing else comes remotely close for sheer comfort and drivability.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 22nd December, 2012