Mazda 323 (1977-2003): compact Japanese

Mazda 323 (1977-2003)
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H Today Mazda puts it a bit with the name as if it had always been planned that the 323 would simply be called 3 at some point. At that time probably nobody really knew what to do with the lonely number, so you took two and grouped them evenly around a two. By the way, in Japan the 323 was called Familiale. Well, that would certainly have incited some motor journalists to one or the other play on words in the headline.

1. Generation (1977-1980)

Mazda is advertising the 323rd in a variety of ways.

Initially, from 1977 onwards, the 323 appealed to people who liked cars that it works reliably and is well-equipped at a reasonable price. The reliability at least proved a 15,000 kilometer trip from Hiroshima, Japan to the IAA in Frankfurt. On the road and by land. '37 days without consideration or loss,' remarked the advertisement as dry as the sand in the Kandahar desert through which the trip led was probably. A tire broke and a buffalo made a dent in one of the two 323s at night, that's it. On September 14, 1977, according to Mazda advertising at the time, the team reached its destination. Dirk-Michael Conradt praised the comfortable front seats of the Mazda 323 and the good equipment in auto motor und sport 22/1978. There was also criticism: The engine is a bit inelastic and uses a lot of gasoline.

2. Generation (1980-1985)

Mazda introduces front-wheel drive in 1980 on the 323.

Excessive fuel consumption is no longer an issue when testing the next generation. Mazda switched the 323 to transverse engine and front-wheel drive in 1980, while auto motor und sport tested the top model GT in issue 26/1980. The 95 hp four-cylinder consumes 10.1 liters of Super, which is a whole liter more economical than an Alfasud. With a base price of 12,990 marks, the 323 is also cheaper than a Golf. Because the engine is noisy and the chassis is safe but uncomfortable, Michael Koenig sees a need for action for the Japanese manufacturer. Those GDR citizens who received one of the 10,000 imported 323s probably saw it in a context that was shaped by Trabant and Wartburg.

3. Generation (1985-1989)

The 3rd generation of the Mazda 323 comes in 1985.

When Thomas Fischer wrote a test for issue 20/1985 , the Mazda 323 was twice the best-selling imported car from Japan. The new generation is 15 mm longer, 15 mm higher and 35 mm longer, there is “more space there in the Mazda!” Visually, however, the 323 is more run-of-the-mill, writes Fischer, who otherwise likes the Mazda for its good space Seats and the low interior noise level and at the end writes: “The Mazda 323 is perhaps the simplest of the compact cars, but certainly not the worst.” Well then. From 1986 Mazda itself provided an economical alternative with a diesel engine, won a round of the World Rally Championship in 1987 and launched a 150 hp top model with the 323 Turbo 4WD 16V.

4. Generation (1989-1994)

The 323 F is also available with a two-liter -V6.

With the fourth generation Mazda 323, Mazda is bringing a four-door coupé onto the road: flat folding headlights and frameless side windows included. The four-door called F is becoming the most popular body version and definitely attracts more people than the somewhat conservative two-door, which is usually also painted in gray metallic. Klaus Westrup is on the road for issue 18/1989 with a two-door in gray metallic. He first noticed that, unlike the also new Mercedes SL, hardly anyone noticed the new Mazda. The inconspicuous has a lot to offer. A functional and elegant interior, for example, a precise gearshift and a powerful motor - which, however, also sounds powerful. Westrup also noted load change reactions and clear comfort weaknesses of the chassis. Mazda proves its courage to diversity with the F under the flat hood: If you want, you can get the four-door with a two-liter V6. Only a few want. It's a shame, today such a compact coupé with a V6 would be a nice thing.


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