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2002 Mazda 323 Astina Shades Review
  • Comfortable seats, Good fuel economy, Practicality, Engine sound, Interior and Exterior styling (subjective of course)
  • No ABS or passenger airbag (in 2002!), Crashy ride, Slow

by Alasdair

I bought this car second hand in 2013 for $6500 with 131,000kms on the clock, and an almost full service history. I specifically wanted one because I like the look of them and they are comfy, and can be fun to drive on nice roads. It now has around 157,000kms on the clock.

I’ve had it serviced twice in that time, the first service I had the timing belt done as a precaution because the last service in the book had been at 99,000 kms and didn’t specify if it had been done and had some cv boots and stuff done, which was around $700 all up, and the next was just a general service which was about $300.

I’ll do the next one myself as I have the tools now and wouldn’t mind having a go. The car has been faultless in terms of reliability, although I do expect some electrical problems down the road as ants had made a nest in the dashboard and have probably had a go at the wiring – I found this out one day with the demister on and all these ant eggs and ants started blowing up on the dash!

Initially I thought the car was a bit boring (it replaced a motorbike) but it has been a fantastic buy. It has been reliable, practical (I’ve used it to move house boxes, seats down for wood planks and so on and a toolkit topbox and creeper) and very comfortable with its velour seats.

The gearbox is ok, the steering is nice, the engine sounds nice but is gutless, but even revving it out the economy has been excellent for a vehicle its age – typically I get around 7.8l per 100km, with a best of 6.3 (roadrip to Mildura with four mates on board) and a worst of 8.3. Aside from the gutless engine my only criticism is that I feel it should have ABS (checked manual, not in this model, and no fuse) and a passenger airbag. Driving has been typical commuter work (about 30kms each way) as well as some country trips with friends / girlfriend.

It is a good long distance car I find. The seats are comfy and it handles dirt roads well, though the ride can be a bit crashy and perhaps some more suspension travel would be better on bumpy roads. I would highly recommend one if you are on a budget and want something practical and economical but don’t carry passengers regularly as there is only a drivers airbag.

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2002 Mazda 323 Astina Shades Review Review
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