1992 Mazda 121 DB 1.3 from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

Very reliable, durable and economical. A little sporty too

Faults:

Rear brake drums had to be machined at 135,000km.

Radiator replaced at 145,000km.

Water pump replaced as a precaution at 145,000km.

Timing belt replaced at 145,000km.

General Comments:

Very practical, very cheap to run, and quite fun to drive around town.

It is underpowered though, my 1.3 single point injected engine is mated to a 4 speed auto and power steering, making this car no road rocket.

As a result of the car being underpowered, it is OK around town, but not good on highways, as it is difficult to remain at 110km/h, especially uphills. The engine is also very noisy at high speeds. Car also feels unstable due to its light weight and overly light steering at 110km/h.

I think though this is a great car for around town, as it is fun to drive, go kart like. Ride is very firm, sporty, but not very comfortable. General quality is excellent, with very little going wrong with the car over the last 20 years. There were no faults and no repairs needed for the first 19 years!

Car is definitely a keeper. Unfortunately there is a bit of rust around the rear windscreen now, typical of cars of this era. I think I can squeeze a few more trouble free years out of her though!

Brakes are excellent, although no ABS is available. Safety is a bit of a concern, considering its poor crash performance compared with modern cars. I have fitted good quality tires to improve primary safety.

The interior is very basic, and the boot opening too small. However, I love this car for its strengths, and can forgive its weaknesses!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th March, 2013

17th Oct 2014, 06:14

I am the original writer of the review above. I haven't needed to do anything mechanically to the car since the review, almost 18 months ago! The car is truly amazing from a reliability and cost of ownership perspective. There are a few little faults with her now... rust has increased a little around the rear window, so I bogged up the holes with some Spakfiller I had left over. That stopped the leaks, but doesn't look that great LOL.

The auto trans has started to judder a bit, not that unusual I guess, it still has the original auto trans fluid in it! I have been told that if I get the trans flushed, that problem may go away. All in all though, even if the car died tomorrow, it has been so cheap to run, and has put up with my neglect... I wouldn't complain.

However, I believe with minimal maintenance I will still be driving her in 2-3 years time. I refuse to upgrade to a newer car while she is going so well, I'd rather invest my money! I'm going see if I can make her last until she is 30 (currently 22 years old).

1992 Mazda 121 1.3i-16 from Singapore

Summary:

A budget car with high performance

Faults:

Ceiling light not working properly.

Wiper not tighten properly.

Steering Wheel too small.

General Comments:

Really a vast improvement over the 1st gen Proton Saga 1.3L which incur a lot of repair expenses as at least one thing malfunction every month!

Very new shiny yellow paint until looks like a new car with old no. plate.

Fuel economy fair - save petrol and increase performance by switching off air-con.

It is so powerful for such a small engine.

Very solid engine system.

It is very easy to park compared to Proton thus no dent will occur.

Very advanced electronics/alarm system.

Nice cool blue neon light add-on at night giving a modern high tech feel eventhough more than 10 yrs!

A very cute car just like my future wife.

$300 loan every month for 6-1/2 yrs which is below minimum $500 for a new car. It can be offset by my company overtime transport allowance. Can finally sleep in peace every night with less worries.

Well-liked by friends, colleagues, relatives and family members. They turn their head to this car but look away from my previous car. No more teasing finally. :)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 4th August, 2004