1988 Mazda 323 Base 1.8 I4 4 speed from North America
Low end torque = good
Three weeks after I bought the car, the head gasket blew. We were able to fix it ourselves in about 15 hours of work. We figured it was just time. The engine suffered no damage.
Radiator developed a leak from a problem we missed. The bottom fastenings for the electric fan were missing, and after banging back and forth, it finally made a leak. Only about 2 hours to fix.
The front-right tire has a bad wheel bearing that we would have fixed right away, but you need a special tool to get the disk off. (Grr)
I have owned this about 5 months, and I am already in love with it.
Only 90bhp, but 105 lbs of torque at 2500rpm. That and its light weight make for instant response with the gas pedal. Even at 75mph, if you push the throttle even the tiniest amount more, you and your passanger can tell immediately.
Loves the city's, but gets a little grumpy on the expressways. It needs one more gear added onto it, the motor has to spin fairly fast to make 70.
Because the motor must spin so fast, it doesn't have the fuel economy it should.
Despite the cars size, the front is actually quite roomy and very comfortable.
When the odd problem comes, it's cheap and easy to fix.
Unique look for a Hot Hatch, looks very rugged somehow. I think it's the body height.
So, to sum it up, beautiful acceleration and power for the actual engine specs, good, but not great economy, low top speed, but a lot of fun getting there. I highly recommend this car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 24th November, 2001
28th Apr 2004, 08:15
Thanks for the tip on the fuel economy. I need a gas miser and I figured with the size this would fit the bill, but I guess not.
21st Feb 2005, 20:25
That's because he has only the 4 speed. I was certain that all 323's came with the 5 speed manual, or 4speed w/OD. I guess not.
25th Jun 2008, 12:39
The SE model and the GTX came with a 5 speed transmission. The base model had the 4 speed.
15th May 2010, 22:29
After my truck broke, my dad gave me his 323 he got from a friend. First time I have driven a manual, and this car is easy for starting off, though I am sad it ain't no GTX, but this is a fun fun fun little car. Simply because of the throttle response on it, and it handles well, it's just so fun to drive anywhere in.