Published on February 24th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Used Car Review For A 17-Year Old Teenager_No.3 Out Of 5
In 3rd position is the Mazda 323 1.6i sedan. For many years Mazda has had an excellent reputation for producing some of the best small to medium cars available and the latest range of the Mazda3 model certainly carries on this well earned tradition. This four-door sedan version of Mazda’s very popular 323 hatchback was introduced in 1990 by Cycle & Carriage with the Familia getting further remakes in 1995 and 1999. Some say the Familia of 1990-94 looks a bit like the smaller Mercedes-Benz sedan of that time, the 190E. We think so too.
There is a shortage of used 323 sedans in the market for sale due to its popularity with aftermarket tuners and its low maintenance running costs with families. This ultra-competitive segment is filled with at least 5 main contenders, the Nissan Sentra 1.6 twin cam (now very commonly used as a taxi to Genting Highlands), the evergreen Toyota Corolla SEG 1.6, the Malaysian made Proton Wira 1.6, the highly popular Honda Civic 1.6 and the Familia’s sibling the Ford Laser 1.6. The Familia sells with an agreeable asking price.
The Familia and the Ford Laser share many of their under-skin mechanical components where Ford has worked with Mazda for years starting with the popular 1983 Ford Laser S sedan and Laser S hatchback. The 1990 model 323 Familia and the then-new Ford Laser shared identical mechanicals. So underneath the 1990 Ford Laser 1.6cc sits the heart and muscle of a 323 Familia. This arrangement has followed with many other later models like the Ford Lynx and Mazda Lantis sharing a platform and mechanicals. Thus making parts and servicing reasonable and allowing for availability of parts and mechanical know how almost every part of Malaysia.
Instrumentation is clean and functional, with dials plainly readable between the thick sports like, three-spoke steering wheel. All the instruments fit in a nicely sculpted dash, which sits slightly higher than that of, say, the Honda Civic of the day. The car comes equipped with a host of power extras, from electric windows, mirrors, central locking and quite attractive 14-inch minilite looking alloy wheels.
Cycle & Carriage offered only one engine choice, a 1.6-litre of displacement with single overhead cam. This relatively spirited four-cylinder engine could easily take you from 0-100 km in about 10-plus seconds. The 105-brake horsepower engine is smooth and very economical. Spare parts are easily available and abundant.
This model only came with two gearbox options, a three-speed automatic and a 5 speed manual which is quite spirited. As for handling, the fully independent suspension in the Familia delivers reasonably tight and predictable driving as long as bushes and struts are in good condition. Steering on all models is power-assisted rack-and-pinion type. The braking on the Familia comes with four-wheel discs. Look for a unit that has not been retro fitted with go faster parts. Will not be easy but will be worth the effort. Price hover from RM7,000 to RM11,000 for a unit that will provide years of driving bliss.