1997 Mazda Eunos 500 from Australia and New Zealand
A nice, comfortable and fairly luxurious car that is fun to drive
In chronological order:
The driver's seat was in poor condition when I received the car, however I suspect this is the fault of the previous owner not properly caring for their leather seats.
There is some problems with the tappets making a noise, and both tappet cover gaskets have been leaking oil in the time I have owned the car. I suspect this is more because the car is older, and I suspect may not have been serviced as needed.
The alternator may be on its way out, however I am not sure about that. The battery light has been coming on intermittently over the past months, however no noticeable effects have become apparent.
The front right hand control arm also needs replacing.
The driver's side power window control switch has an intermittent fault.
The car has been reliable, and although it has needed some work done to it, it has always got me where I needed to go. I have never been left stranded on the side of the road because it wouldn't start or drive. I don't know how much of my problems are to do with its unknown service history, however I suspect it may be a factor. I would definitely tread very carefully with one that does not have a service history.
Although there have been some problems, I feel that for a 14 year old car with 250,000 km on it (when I first got it), it has done rather well. It hasn't been a "nightmare" to own, nor has it spent more than a few days off the road. Having said that, if things go wrong, parts can be hard to obtain, however a mechanic who is "on the ball" should be able to find out what parts from other Mazda models can be used. The Eunos 500 shares most of it's parts with either the 323 Astina or 626. Other than that, general servicing isn't difficult, it is not like the 800M with an overly complicated engine. The 2.5 litre V6 of the 626 can very easily be installed if things really go bang.
The car is a very nice car that would compare favourably with any car that can be purchased for the same price today. The Eunos was intended to compete with Lexus, BMW, Mercedes etc, and it does a fine job of doing so. The Eunos can be had for much less than any of these cars from the same era as well. $5,000 Australian should give you a good example.
It is smooth to drive, comfortable for 4 medium-large people, although if the driver needs the seat set all the way back, the rear passengers can get a little cramped; not too bad, but a little nonetheless. I have had 4 people in it perfectly comfortably for 4 hour drives, and there have been no complaints.
Performance wise it is rather zippy, with lots of get up and go. It runs best on 95 octane Premium Unleaded fuel. It will run satisfactorily on 91 octane regular, however the engine does not seem to be running as "comfortably" as with Premium. 98 octane seems to be a waste however, as it does not give further performance gains.
The 2.0 litre V6 has no hesitation to rev to 6000+ RPM, although it has enough power that you would rarely feel the need to exceed 4000 rpm. It hauls quite well from 2000 to 3000 RPM. The 4 speed automatic gearbox performs well, although sometimes it will stutter a little, not knowing what gear it should be in. If this happens, either locking it into gear or a quick burst of the accelerator should give it the right idea.
The gearbox has Mazda's usual "hold' feature, so you can either let it freely go between first and second, first second and third, or first second third and fourth, or you can lock it into first, second or third. Both modes have their usefulness in different driving situations.
The cabin is fairly comfortable to be in. The stereo system has both a CD and tape deck, both of which perform competently. The leather seats are nice to sit in, and the cabin is spacious for a car it's size. The air conditioning system works well, even on hot days with 4 people in the car.
Fuel consumption is not perfect, I get around 9-10 litres, depending on how much city and country driving you do. Premium Unleaded fuel makes the car run better and gives better economy. Avoid E10 fuel. This car is not designed for E10, and although it doesn't noticeably run poorly on E10, it gives extremely bad mileage, something in the region of 12 litres/100 km.
In general I would probably recommend the Eunos 500 to a friend, and would definitely have no problems buying another Mazda based on my experiences owning one.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 18th July, 2011
"The driver's seat was in poor condition when I received the car, however I suspect this is the fault of the previous owner not properly caring for their leather seats."
I am surprised how many people cannot tell genuine leather from synthetic. Only a Eunos 800 has real leather, all the rest - Eunos 500, Sentia, etc have SYNTHETIC leather. Dealers still market it as a "leather", which in my opinion is atrocious, but they somehow get away with it.
You know if it is leather or not as soon as you open the door. If it is leather - it smells like leather, no matter what age; the real leather smell is always there.
Anyway, my point being - synthetic "leather" cracks and disintegrates, no matter what. When real leather responds to the right treatment well (as a good woman), synthetic leather does not. You can't condition it with creams and oils. It just would not absorb them, and will keep cracking.
So - it is not the fault of the owner.
It just aged and cracked - because Mazda wanted to play "the green game" and used that synthetic "leather", even though it was more expensive back than compared to real leather.
Sad. Saved few cows, but made many people unhappy.