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.

General Comments:

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

17th Jul 2014, 07:24

"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 the difference between genuine leather and synthetic junk. Only Eunos 800 has REAL leather, all the rest - Eunos 500, Sentia, etc have SYNTHETIC leather. Dealers still market it as "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 - there is no way to "care" for synthetic "leather". Why? Because it is NOT a leather. It is VINYL, and vinyl cracks and disintegrates no matter what. When real leather responds to the right treatment well (as a good woman), vinyl does not. You can't condition it with creams and oils because it does not absorb them, and will just keep cracking.

Conclusion - it is not the fault of the owner.

It just aged and cracked - because Mazda wanted to play "the green game" and used vinyl, even though it was more expensive back than compared to real leather.

Sad. Saved few cows, but made many people unhappy.

P.S. on a second thought, cows were not saved anyway, because they were slaughtered for meat. So there are no winners here :)

1997 Mazda Eunos 1.8 from South Korea


Makes me smile every day


Nothing so far.

General Comments:

Bought the car in Korea in June 2008. It was imported into Korea from Japan in 2004 (given as a gift by a Japanese businessman to a young Korean woman - I didn't ask what line of work she was in).

The car is 11 years old, but has only managed to do just over 50,000 miles in that time. I'm going to double that in less than 2 years, if I keep it that long.

There is a small but fanatical group of Eunos owners in Korea (around 100 in the country), but many of them modify their cars beyond recognition (gullwing doors, Frogeye Sprite-type headlamps, hot pink paint jobs, enormous front spoilers), so it was nice to find a near 100% stock Eunos with super-low mileage. The only changes are:

1) the paint job, which was originally British racing green but is now black. I know the original colour thanks to the shoddy quality of the respray, which chips off if I look at it wrong, and doesn't cover areas like under the boot carpet, and.

2) the addition of an ugly-but-useful roll bar which, although in a nasty black rather than a tasteful chrome, does a good job of increasing the rigidity of the car.

The car's condition is superb for its age. The leather seats are scuff-free and the interior has no marks. The only 2 problems I can find inside are the CD player display, whose buttons no longer light up with the rest of the interior, and the interior light cover, which falls off regularly despite being reattached. If those are my worst problems on an 11 year old car, I'm laughing. Externally, the window in the soft top was cracked, thanks to the previous owner not unzipping it when folded (this should be punishable by death), but I kept the hard top on until I persuaded a fellow Eunos owner in Korea to sell me his spare window for a knockdown price.

Under the bonnet, I felt I wasn't getting the fuel consumption I should have been, but that was improved greatly by a new set of spark plugs. I'm not crazy about the auto gearbox, but I share the car with my girlfriend and she can't drive a manual. Also, she has had one or two altercations with road furniture (barriers, lamp posts, walls), but nothing a trip to the local body shop couldn't fix.

I'm not looking forward to getting parts, as there is obviously nothing in Korea (Mazda has no presence here thanks to the protectionist taxes on car imports), so anything I get will have to come from Japan. That might be an adventure, since I speak no Japanese.

On the road, it's obviously very nice. The power isn't overwhelming, but that's not what the car is about. It handles beautifully. It draws lots of admiring glances, since there are no convertibles made by Korean manufacturers. It also means that no-one has any idea what it is.

Overall, this car is greatly recommended for anyone who actually wants to enjoy the car they drive, not just endure it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th August, 2008

4th Jan 2009, 02:33

I too drive a Miata in Korea. It is hard to find parts, but you can get some from the US. I haven't tried Japan yet because I don't speak Japanese either. :-)

It is fun and does get good looks. :-)