1989 Mazda 323 DX 4 dr sedan 1.6 fuel injection 4 cylinder from North America


Great first car for beginners


Seat belt buckle failed.

Previous owner replaced a timing belt at 210K

Had radiator replaced at 200K.

Alternator replaced.

Battery replaced.

Driver's seat is ripped, and foam is falling out on a corner.

Seats get a bit uncomfortable over 2 hours of driving.

Has a slow oil leak.

General Comments:

I bought this car as a beginner car to get my licence in.

I was smart to do it, as this car is more than enough for what I wanted to do with a car. 4 door base standard transmission, with no power anything. Big trunk and back seats fold down for more space. Gas tank has been reasonable at $1.40/L here in Victoria (midgrade); 20 bucks gives me half a tank, and it lasts around town roughly 100K per quarter tank.

I replaced the passenger side seat belt buckle as it wouldn't click in anymore. $40 bucks. Not too bad.

Replaced the air filter, spark plugs and cleaned the throttle body. Better performance. For a 22 year old car, I am amazed at what this car can do. Acceleration is good; I have surprised myself when I have chirped the tires.

The brakes are good, but I think I should give them a look, as there is a bit of vibration from time to time. It cruises fine around town, but on the highway at 75k to 85k, the car vibrates, but goes back smooth at 85K. Weird, but don't do much highway anyway; currently investigating.

I am happy I got this car. The simplicity of no power anything is less to go wrong. I can actually do most of the maintenance myself.

The car has good power, but still idles rough when warm, but step on the gas and it goes. I am going to replace the fuel filter, as I think it may still be original, and that should help things.

This car, being fuel injection, never has failed to start and run. I have to check if it might need a sensor.

The car isn't perfect as it has a lot of dings and scratches for previous owners. The paintwork is peppered from gravel roads, and the windshield could be a bit clearer. But I have to remind myself it was 800 bucks, and it had under 250K on the odometer. It's not fancy, but for a first car, it has been a smart investment. Parts are quite reasonable, and if you can do most of the work yourself, it's really cheap to maintain this car.

I thank all of the other Mazda owners for their reviews, as they helped me pick this car out. I am quite happy with this car, and it may last a few years before I have to replace it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th June, 2011

7th Jun 2011, 09:51

Your brakes are probably fine, but you should have the tires balanced as you have vibration at speed, no brakes applied.

Now, if you had said the car vibrates under braking, I would say your rotors are out of round.

Great little car. I bet you can fit a seat from a Protege in it. I would ask a junk yard or a body shop.

24th Aug 2011, 00:14

To update my original review.

The back brakes are probably in need of replacement; went to look at them as the passenger side is dragging.

The tires could probably use a balancing as I rotated them 1000 km's ago with no difference in drivability.

Upon getting the car jacked up, I noticed my anti sway bar was cracked on the passenger side in the front, hence the random vibrations at different speeds. Front brakes are in great shape, rear brakes need new hub nuts, as the last person to do the brakes has them mangled to the point of replacement if removed, so I haven't been brave enough to take off the back brakes yet without the replacement parts on hand.

I also noticed the back wheel that was dragging the brake line was seeping. Tried to get a replacement line, and was sold the one for the drivers side instead of the passenger side. I guess I'll replace both sides when I get the correct parts.

I do have to say I love how affordable the parts are for this car, except for the anti-sway bar; 300 bucks, ouch, methinks it's time to go to the wreckers.

Still love this little car.

1989 Mazda 323 from North America


Best car I have ever owned!


Distributor cap went out at about 110,000.

Heater core gradually quit working.

Trunk always leaked in the rain, despite numerous inspections of the weatherstripping and under-body. I never could figure it out.

General Comments:

This was the best car I ever owned. I unfortunately had to sell it as I needed a van at the time, and I still regret it 8 years later.

Aside from the above problems, general maintenance was all this car ever needed. I changed the oil regularly, and never worried about it breaking down on me.

Gas mileage was great.

Not so stylish, but that worked to my advantage, as my sister passed this on to me in favor of her more stylish Pontiac Firebird. Needless to say, the Mazda outlived the Firebird by many years and miles.

Seats weren't exactly luxurious on long trips, but the interior was very roomy for a small car.

Manual transmission always shifted smooth (despite the accidental abuse by about 4 inexperienced stick-shift drivers) and was easy to learn on.

After I sold it, I still saw it around on the streets for years (I lived in the same small town as the new owners.) I wouldn't be surprised to learn that it easily made it past 200K and beyond.

I bought a '92 Mazda 323 hatchback a few years later, hoping to re-live my trouble-free Mazda years, but unfortunately, a crack in the engine block sent that lemon to the junkyard with only 92K on it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th November, 2007