1999 Mazda 323 F 1.4
One of the best in its class
Passenger side door side airbag sensor failed.
Mass Airflow Meter failed at approximately 70000km, I`ve heard from other people they had the same problem.
Some water mysteriously leaks into the spare tyre and right rear light compartment.
Sometimes hard to put in reverse gear.
Some rust in the engine compartment. The paint is good and rust free, but bolts seem to like becoming rusty and I see this will become a problem in a few years.
Suspension parts a little too weak, needs new sway bars and other parts more often than one would expect to, but this can be due to hard driving on poor roads.
Very seldom the ABS light goes on for no particular reason and ABS stops working, solves itself after a few minutes and ABS starts working again.
Consumed two litres of oil in the last 15000 km, but was driven very very hard.
It may seem like a long list of failures, but that all that went wrong in the last 7 years with this car. What is important to me is that it never ever broke down on the road, always started from the first try and never complained no matter how hard it was abused.
The seats may not seem so good, but even on longer journeys you can live up with them. Cabin space is excellent for a car of this size, everything is made with simplicity and some gentle beauty.
Our car is in a soft golden colour and looks discreet, but beautiful. The paint is thin, but of high quality, not polished or waxed very often, but after 7 years still able to look as good as new. On the outside and inside it`s one of those cars that says I`ll do my best to serve you as good as I can and it has always proven to do so.
The 1.4 engine is too weak for this car, maybe good enough for soccer moms, but not even close for a teenager. Go for the 1.6 if you can.
The brakes could be better, same goes with the suspension. Very understeery when pushed hard, this was partially solved with good Michelin`s, but comparing to let`s say a Civic, in handling terms the Civic wins by a long shot. It`s not a drivers car, it feels best when driven at moderate speeds.
Our car is a car on which two teenager learnt how to drive and most of its kilometers were made in boy racer style, thus pushing the car to its limit very often. And it never failed, never crashed, never did anything to make you unhappy.
So, in conclusion. The Mazda 323 is a very reliable, friendly, roomy for its class, safe (4 airbags and a roll cage), discreet, thankful car. If you want a car to have no trouble with it then you are looking for the right one.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 6th July, 2006
Update after one year. It now has 110000kms, one exhaust header gasket and one wheel bearing needed replacement.
The oil consumption went down, although it has never been driven as hard as this year. Last year I did two 1700km journeys in one day with 5 adults plus baggage and it never missed a beat or complained in any way. It`s a keeper.
Another update. Now around 125000km on the clock.
A/C needed regassing, some minor rust needed to be solved near lower door seals, it needed an idle adjustment, front arm stabilizers needed to be replaced, the front shocks are in need of replacement and the remote locking/unlocking does not work any more and it is not because of the battery in the remote.
Other than that, still very reliable and nice to drive.