Having had a faultless, if boring, Mazda 323 previously, and having noted that it has been the Caravan Club Towcar of the Year, I bought a new model in 2004.
It is an excellent towcar but unrefined. I found that all the tyres had to be replaced at 15,000 miles and the clutch at two years old and 19,500 miles. The cost was £760, as it was not covered by the warranty. The Caravan Club published a survey in Jan 2007 and found that, from a sample of over 50 members, 10% had needed new clutches at very low mileages.
I tried to recover some of the cost from the manufacturer who tried to refer me back to the dealer. They claimed it was my heavy-footed driving that was the problem, without having any evidence to support that claim, and refused to admit or acknowledge that it could be that the clutch was unfit for purpose.
I have been driving for over 50 years without any history of early clutch replacement. They have been totally implacable and so I have taken them to the small claims court. Needless to say, having spent over £1500 on servicing and repairs in two years, I am disillusioned and have sold it and bought a Honda Accord.
Well built. Excellent road holding. Steering over sensitive, tends to tramline. Petrol engine noisy on brisk acceleration. Gear ratios too low but means minimal gear changing. Gearchange a bit clunky and not a patch on Ford Mondeo. Brakes magnificent only requiring a light touch. Spacious accomodation and load space. Reliable so far after 18k. Local main dealer very good(there's a surprise). Overall, great to drive and should last for a long time though a new 6 speed diesel is tempting.
Mine is a TS2 Diesel. Now done 120,000 in 3 years. The car has been great fun to drive with sharp grippy handling and a great engine. Sadly I've had a long catalogue of gearbox problems. First the 5th gear lost its 'gate' and popped out of gear. Then, I assume due to a poor repair the rest of the gearbox failed. Then (apparently) due to incorrect fitting of the box the nearside driveshaft popped out and took some gears with it.Now as it is about to go the fifth gear is failing yet again. a variety of othewr sensors and a clutch have failed. I've never had problems like this before on a car. Great car, sorry about the box!
Picked up my 6 estate TS diesel in April pending arrival of baby in June. Selected it on the basis of previously having a mazda and with most motoring mags rating it highly.
Only 6 months later I'm selling it as the headlights have a persistent "dimming and brightening" which looks a lot like you're flashing other drivers at night to let them pull out, etc. Obviously I'm not happy driving the family around in that!
Mazda UK and unhelpful dealer say "no problem with the car - all mazda's do it" (they don't - I also have a 3 which doesn't). Be warned though - Mazda seem fine until you have a problem when they just shut up shop and tell you to be on your way!
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