1989 Mazda 323 LX, Model BG Hatchback 1.4 gasoline, 67hp from Germany
Great car for CHEAP and RELIABLE daily commute if you don't care about comfort, speed and safety
Had to replace the exhaust at 140.000 km.
The ignition controller failed at 160.000 km.
Head gasket broke at 200.000 km, after its replacement I found a crack in the radiator that might have been the initial cause of the failure. Replaced the radiator, too.
The Mazda 323 BG I own probably has the fewest extras you could get. Absolutely low-end. No power steering, 155mm-tires, no rpm-meter, no power windows, no electric locks, and of course the smallest engine ever available on this model.
I bought this car for just 900 Euros in 2001, and apart from the things mentioned above and the religious oil/filter changes every 10.000 km, there was nothing to worry about. The only time it let me down was when the head gasket was blown. Since then, it worked flawlessly until I garaged it in the summer of 2006 because I bought another car.
Apart from the engine being reliable, you need to be aware that it is only good when you need to travel from A to B at little costs. If you want anything more than that, for example want to overtake a truck now and then, keep in mind that the engine has no power at all. 67 hp feel like 50 here and you need to shift down to have a chance. It even may become dangerous when the car is fully loaded and you are trying to pull on a highway.
As always it is helpful when you are able to do the basic maintenance yourself. Replacing a head gasket would have cost more than the value of the car if it had been done at a Mazda dealer.
I bought my spare parts at a Mazda dealer who has been friendly and helpful whenever I had questions. Spare parts of Asian cars are generally more expensive than those of European cars (at least in Germany). But who cares about higher spare part prices when hardly anything ever breaks?
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 26th October, 2006