Mazda 323 - Mazda 323 Problem - Help Choosing Between 2 - Miserable_Scott

Hello all,

Thank you in advance for any information.

I've looked at two mazda 323, both 2002 models. One is 1.6GXI and another is 1.6GSI. Both cars have done around 60k miles, but the GXI lower spec is private and the GSI higher spec is through a dealer.

The 1.6GXI private sale has had a new clutch, timing belt, waterpump and seems to have the last few years' receipts available at the least, maybe more to be dug out of a loft. A new clutch at 60k sends alarm bells, and it has mostly been used for short runs as far as I know. It's silver, and the rear wheel arches are in a really bad state for a car that has just turned 8 years old. 2 months tax left, 8 months MOT, total of 3 owners including the guy who is selling. Car seems to drive fine, but the new clutch worries me.

The 1.6GSI dealer has mazda dealer service stamps up to 2007, but from there the service history is a bit thin. Car has had only 1 owner, and is an off-reddy brown colour, and bodywork in comparison to the above silver one is far better, minimal rust. No new clutch or the like, but dealer has said will do timing belt and waterpump, include receipts etc, and pass those onto me. 6 months tax and 1 year MOT. Car seems great otherwise. But could need a new clutch soon, although test drive seemed fine - it works both ways I suppose.

Now, my problem: private is a bit under £2000, and the other dealer 1.6GSI is advertised for £2595 - naturally I expect to knock the dealer down a bit. But is a new clutch on a reputable Japanese car a worrying sign, or should I take it as an extra benefit? The cosmetic rear wheel arch rush on the private cheaper sale is quite bad for such a car.

So: go for the cheaper deal with the new clutch, ready to go, and the bad wheel arch rust. Or spend an extra £400/500 and get the dealer-maintained car with most service history but just recent service receipts? eg: On these cars is something (clutch) likely to go wrong soon, hence the private is worth going for overall?

Many thanks for any advice!

Edited by Miserable_Scott on 03/04/2010 at 00:08


Ask Honest John

Value my car