1992 Mazda Efini MS-6 1.8i DOHC V6 from Australia and New Zealand
Fast and cheap, but absolutely rubbish reliability
Automatic transmission started to break down badly before I sold it. Seems to be a factory defect. Started to creep incredibly slowly when in gear, jumped around between gears, it couldn't figure out what gear it was supposed to be in on hills.
CV joints wore out quickly, made nasty whirring noises when accelerating.
Air conditioning system spluttered and made grinding noises. Climate control display bulb blew, and was so hard to replace I didn't bother.
Cooling system didn't work properly. Some parts of motor overheated, but the actual block stayed at okay temperature. Pipes smelt like burnt rubber.
Very cheap and lots of parts available.
Very quick, DOHC V6 motor. Frightening fuel consumption for 1.8 litre. Good performance for a pretty ordinary looking car.
Steering felt like it was made from wood and pieces of string.
Transmission needs no introduction as it was perennially abysmal.
Probably a good car if you could find one with a reconditioned transmission and radiator. All electrics worked perfectly.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 24th June, 2009
Obviously it is possible for the occasional "lemon" to fall through the cracks in quality assurance, as in this case, but I have a 1993 Mazda Efini MS-6 with the 1.8 V6, and have had no problems whatsoever with the auto transmission.
As it is a fairly wide car, I find the handling at speed to be at least more than adequate.
As stated, the power from the smooth little V6 can be alarming (not huge torque, but quick revving and smooth, with in my experience, a slick auto, and it is easy to find myself 30-40 kph over the speed limit if I don't pay attention).
Roomy inside, deceptively quick, FWD safe, and cheap to run; ticks most of the boxes for me.