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Mazda 323 (1994–1998)

Last updated 14 March 2016

 
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What's good

Mazda had lowest average cost in warranty claims for cars up to 10 years old in 2002 Warranty Direct index.

Unusual, but attractive.

20th from top in 'R' reg J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Survey.

In June 1991 Mazda was rated by Motor Warranty Direct as Britain's most claim-free marque. 12th from top of 100 models for reliability in Auto Express 2002 survey.

Mazda had lowest average cost in warranty claims for cars up to 10 years old in 2002 Warranty Direct index.

Mazda generally 4th lowest average warranty repair costs in 2003 Warranty Direct Reliability index (index 47.61 v/s lowest 31.93)  www.reliabilityindex.co.uk

What to watch out for

An odd period for the 323 with only a handful of a new 3-door hatchbacks and very pretty 4-door saloons imported and no estates. Power output of 1.8 dropped to 115 bhp.

3-door hatchback and pretty 4-door saloon disappeared from range from 1995-1997.

New model range arrived late 1998/early 1999.

'F' model name dropped, but concept of the car remained similar.

High 7 point death rate from from government accident stats in this model.

Make sure car has been regularly serviced.

Damaged trim is expensive to replace.

Make sure all the electrics work.

Uneven tyre wear may be evidence of kerbing.

Paint is hard to match and a giveaway of accident damage.

Make sure the central locking works on all the doors.

If you buy a 'glassback' 3-door or the pretty 4-door, be aware that body panels will probably have to come from Mazda's HQ in Brussels, and any RHD bits from Japan.

Check complex quad cam 24v V6 carefully.

Smoke could mean any one of 24 valve stem seals. Timing belt failure means disaster and replacing the belt is expensive.

Reports of aircon compressor failures (look for seeming seals) and ABS failures, so make sure the ABS light comes on then goes out.

Some 1995 cars suffered from a faulty batch of clutches. Check complex quad cam 24v V6 carefully. Smoke could mean any one of 24 valve stem seals. Timing belt failure means disaster and replacing the belt is expensive.

Recalls

1997: 'Mystique' special edition based on 323F 1.5LXi may have loose wheel nuts on spare wheel.

23-10-2015: US recall of 1.2 million older model Mazdas because grease could accumulate inside the ignition switch, causing overheating and possibly a fire. The problem does not occur when the vehicle is in motion. Covers 1992-93 MX-3, 1993-97 MX-6, 1993-95 929, 1993-98 626, 1989-1998 MPV and 1990-96 323/Protégé. Recall unlikley to be repeated worldwide because most of the cars will already have been scrapped.

 

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