1988 Mazda 323 SE 1.6L SOHC from North America


This car is indestructible


Rear Wheel Bearings have gone bad several times.

New Starter.

New Thermostat.

New Timing belt.

New Driver side axle.

New Transmission at 165000.

Burns a little oil.

General Comments:

This car has been great. I bought it for 1,600 dollars in 2001. The only problem is a bad design on the rear wheel bearings. They have to be replaced at least once a year. But I have learned to do it myself and its not really a big deal anymore. But I wouldn't buy another 323 for this reason. As far as everything else this car is a tank. Everything still works on it including the A/C. Nothing has ever been done to the engine and it still runs like new even though its 18 years old with 192K miles on it. Its pretty amazing. I did replace the transmission at 165,000. It is astounding it lasted that long. It prob would have lasted longer if I was not driving the car so hard. I floored the gas pedal on the interstate and that's what did it in. The car is also really easy to work on. My 323 also has the best handling of any car I have ever driven. You can take very tight turns at high speeds and it also has a very tight turning radius. I also love this car in the winter. It handles great in the snow and I often cruse right buy SUVs that are stuck in the ditch in my little 323. I hope I never have to get rid of it. They definately don't make cars like this anymore.

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

Review Date: 24th October, 2006

1988 Mazda 323 SE 1.6 SOHC from North America


Quick and Fun 4 door, Lots of problems


Cylinder Head was warped and the radiator hose burst when I got it, my uncle gave the car to me.

Window regulator broke, replaced it, and the window sometimes still jams up in its tracks and is really annoying.

Went out of alignment and the front struts went out.

The car got the dreaded "crank nose" problem that the 1.6 is famous for, so the crank pully wobbles and the keyway is wearing itself away and retarding the timing, causing the car to be slower and slower. Its unfixable and will soon render the car inoperable.

Dash rattles like CRAZY!

Rear defroster stopped working.

The choke sorta valve is broken or something so it takes forever to start when its warm.

Hard to get into reverse and likes to grind into reverse a lot.

Smokes like crazy in the mornings from the valve seals.

Back seat has worn and ripped, the locks have all seized up and I had to replace them.

General Comments:

The car is fun and good looking, somewhat comfortable, but its constant problems and expensive parts make it undesirable. I'm looking to get rid of it before the crank takes a dump.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th July, 2006

1988 Mazda 323 1.6 from North America


Extremely economical


No faults.

General Comments:

Cheap, reliable, ETREMELY low on gas. constantly 37 miles per gallon or better! Totaled it in a wreck, one of my biggest mistakes. A jewel.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st October, 2005

1988 Mazda 323 GT 1.6 DOHC turbo from North America


One word "Awesome"


Exhaust. Stock rear springs sag really bad. Turbo seal went bad.

General Comments:

This car is a rocket. It is so fast in stock form it's not even funny. With a few modifications it can be turned into a V8 killer.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd June, 2005

3rd Jun 2005, 06:48

Another crap-O review!

3rd Jun 2005, 21:18

When I hear "Mazda 323", the most immediate word(s)that come to mind are`nt exactly "awesome".

21st Nov 2005, 17:14

It's a GT - Turbo engine with 135hp stock, easily up to 200hp. Yes, that would qualify as awesome.

8th Apr 2007, 18:35

Owned a Mazda 323GT for 3 awesome years, best car I have ever owned. Super quick, firm suspension, good looking. Sure miss it!

1988 Mazda 323 Sedan 1.6 liter from North America


Very Economical Car


The car is almost faultless. Perhaps it isn't as spunky as it was off the lot, but hey its got 125,000 on the original engine and transmission.

1) The most annoying problem is occasionally the ignition will not work unless the car is in Neutral. The Mazda mechanic who inspected it (while under warranty) could not get it to fail, and did not find any fault in the unit. Subsequent mechanics have given similar answers. No problem found.

2) At about 110,000 miles the engine developed an occasional clicking noise. I spoke with a friend who is a mechanic and he said sometimes the problem is the hydraulic lifter. Replacing the unit means openning up the engine and since the part alone is $385 (about 2 years ago). I'll live with it.

3) Last week (125,000 miles), the turn signal lever broke. Stuffed a hunk of paper in the hole to prop up the lever and I can use it almost normally. Chances of me openning up the steering column to repair that... is nil.

General Comments:

Car has been an exceptional value. I bought the car off the lot for $8,797.02 New (I grabbed the original paperwork and the low price surprises me).

The Paint on the car has held up amazingly. Aside from an occasional wash and wax, I tend to forget about exterior maintenance.

Gas Economy is great! The original sticker on the car indicates it should get 24mpg in the city and 30mpg on the highway (With California Emission System). As most of my driving is in the city, I think my getting 26mpg currently is GREAT!!

I put in 10-40 oil into the car every oil change and it helps. Oil change is every 9-12months (or whenever I get around to it). Last oil change was October 2003.

Everyone said that I would need to change my Timing Belt at 60,000miles. I didn't get around to it until 90,000 miles (the fuel economy dropped to 20mpg and an tune up with oil change didn't resolve it).

The only thing I kick myself for is not buying the optional Air Conditioning. When I bought it though, I spent a lot of time going up into the Sierra Nevada mountains and the AC unit would have killed the performance of the car. Sixteen years later, and half a dozen drives cross country my needs have changed and have my regrets.

Except for the repairs that I have had to put into the car for vandals (stolen once, radio stolen twice) I don't think I've spent more than $1000-aside from refilling gas, oils, radiator fluid and tires). Normal wear and tear on this car is minimal.

Last month someone told me that I should replace the Transmission Fluid. I had to look in the Owner's Manual to find where it was. Looked fine. 125,000 miles, original tranny fluid.

I'm not gonna fix what ain't broke.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th May, 2004

20th Jan 2011, 08:53

I have purchased my 1988 Mazda 323. I love this car more than my 2003 Dodge Status.

This car is stick shift and it's cheap to fix, not to mention easy. I installed a new radiator.

I bought it new for a 112.00 and a new water pump 25.00 and a rebuild alternator. All 4 new tires.

It's fun to drive and reliable. It's worth it.