Owner Review

2002 Mazda 121 Metro Shades review

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I bought this car a couple of months ago, because I didn't have enough money to purchase a good car. I live in Iran and cars are so expensive here. This is a Ford Festiva, Kia Pride or Mazda 121 – here we call it a Pride 111.

The engine was rebuilt five years ago – 1323cc, 71hp at 5000rpm and 108Nm of torque at 2750rpm, with a smooth five-speed manual transmission and a very soft clutch pedal. Not a very strong engine, but can be funny for a 900kg car. That's a real tiny champion in the city, even with the air-con on.

Halogen headlamps really surprised me. They're bright enough – at least better than my ex-car, a Hyundai Elantra 1.8-litre petrol. The steering wheel is very light, and with the car being only 3.6m long, it is a piece of cake to park in tight spaces.

It has a very good reputation for reliability, as well as being extremely cheap to run. I calculated 6.5L/100km average fuel consumption, 5.2 on the highway, 7.5–9 in the city, depending on your driving style and using A/C.

I changed the 165/60R13 standard tyres with 175/60R13 Hankook Allseasons. I observed a great impact on handling. The brakes are reasonable but overheat very quickly, suffering from a lack of ventilated front discs and also the old-fashioned rear drum brakes.

I think this car needs more safety features, such as side and curtain airbags (two front airbags are standard). Stability control is really necessary (it just has ABS, EBD).

Although I didn't expect much from the $2500 brand-new car, truly exciting news is the driver's seat adjusts in four ways. Of course, it's not that bad either, compared to the $20,000 2015 Hyundai Elantra I had with six-way manual adjustment.

The modified engine needs a better and thinner oil – 10w40 SL than an old thick oil like 20w50 SG. It requires 3.5L with the oil filter. Gearbox oil is 2.5L of 75w80 GL4 quality.

Trunk volume is about 200L, with a full-size spare wheel, and foldable 50:50 rear seat (just four-person capacity). The Pride 111 is a practical small car with lots of driver's head room for me – I'm 186cm. My previous car was a Dena Plus (almost the same size as an Audi A4), but I had lots of problems with the sunroof over my head.

Some things are weird in the Pride, such as the lack of a cabin filter, air-con just blows out of the front vent, and the heater just from under the dash and below the windscreen. There are no modern features like electric side mirrors or rear electric windows. The awful sound system has just four speakers with a USB port and AUX. I have a mobile holder on the air vent to use sat-nav and also play my music and so on.

I'm interested in the new Subaru Forester and new VW Touareg. Thanks for your time. God bless you all.