1988 Mazda 323 1.6 from North America


The only problems I had with the car was the head gasket, which leaked oil.

General Comments:

This car is from 1988 and only has 120,000 on the original engine. It is very peppy, especially in 1st gear you can take it up to 40 km/h. It is also very comfortable when going on long trips. Although the brakes can sometimes squeal when you brake too hard from high speeds because they can heat up very quickly and warp easily. I drive this car extremely hard and it hasn't given up on me yet. Mazda rocks!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st December, 2003

1988 Mazda 323 DX 1.6i from North America


The best car out there


The car needed a new exhaust system as well as a new head gasket. The brake rotors became warped.

General Comments:

The Mazda 323 is a great car. The fuel economy is amazing. I get about 400 kilometers per tank. The parts for the car are cheaply priced. The interior is well laid out and is very comfortable. Even in the back where there is usually less space there is enough room for two adults to sit comfortably. This type of car is an great first car for anyone. Plus it is pretty peppy for such a small engine.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th July, 2003

1988 Mazda 323 Turbo 4x4 1.6 turbo from UK and Ireland


Probably better than the 10 valve Audi quattro and certainly cheaper


Nothing has gone wrong since I have owned the car I've done 5000 miles in 5 months.

The car does have a few niggles. The central locking doesn't work and the drivers door lock is very stiff. Most annoyingly the hatch back will not stay open and regularly crashes onto my head when I'm unloading the boot.

Rust is looking like it may be a problem in the future on the underside of the car. It has been wax oiled in the past. The bodywork still looks good with very slight rust bubbling around the back wheel arches, sunroof and ariel. I suspect the bonnet has been resprayed at some time in the past.

It doesn't burn any oil and drives more or less like new.

General Comments:

This car was cheap to buy and seems very reliable although I've only owned it for 5 months. It is a homologization special for the 1987 world rally championships. I've been told it is one of 500 made, but this seems very unlikely.

The car has plenty of power and is quiet fast.

The handling is poor despite the four wheel drive. The suspension is very soft and the car is terrible when braking with loads of under steer leading to the back end quickly and uncontrolably giving way. Under power the car is much better, the four wheel drive compensating for the hopeless suspension. With power the car still feels front wheel drive. Only severe abuse under power will cause the back end to move. I think a better driver than myself would be able to get a lot out of this car. I suspect it wants to be on a pot holed gravel road. I prefer a hard suspension and more oversteer on normal dry roads.

This is a good car specifically made to be rallied. I intend to keep it a while and believe it to be a classic.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd April, 2003

21st Aug 2003, 03:30

Just replaced front discs on the above car. Surprisingly difficult job. The discs are attached to the back of the hub and so the drive shafts, bearings etc need to be removed. The sliders on the calipers were also siezed which caused the discs to wear more on the inside. Everythings running fine now, but what a headache for just a routine service item. Parts from mazda were very expensive and I don't think Kwik fit or National tyres could cope with a job like this. Cost of ownership of this car is higher than I first indicated when writing this review. The car doesn't go wrong often, but when it does it'll hurt.

17th Nov 2003, 10:08

Front off side spring snapped. Had great difficulty finding parts. Mazda wanted over £120 per spring. Eventually I purchased a pair of springs from a specialised Japanise car parts shop £130 for the pair. They were easy to fit.

The car sits a little lower now, but there is no noticable difference in the handling.

Everything else is running fine. Plenty of power still and no blue smoke! 84,000 miles 17/11/03.

I've still yet to see another on the road.