Used Mazda 323 Hatchback 1998 - 2004 review

Category: Family car

Section: Our recommendations

1998 - 2004 review
Used Mazda 323 Hatchback 1998 - 2004
  • Used Mazda 323 Hatchback 1998 - 2004
  • Used Mazda 323 Hatchback 1998 - 2004
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Our recommendations

Which used Mazda 323 hatchback should I buy?

Find a post-June 2001, 2.0-litre turbodiesel, and you'll have a refined yet swift hatchback - and the best model in the range. Although the engine's power was reduced by 10bhp at that point, the whole range benefited from a face-lift with a new bonnet and grille. An even later post-November 2001 GXI model comes with electric sunroof, side airbags and traction control.

A 1.3-litre petrol engine was also added to the range in 2001, but with just 72bhp, it's the weakest of the seven engines, and life on the motorway can be a struggle. The 96bhp 1.6-litre is a shrewder choice and is also available with a four-speed auto as well as the standard five-speed manual.

The 131bhp 2.0-litre petrol, borrowed from the 626 to replace the 323's outgoing 112bhp, 1.8-litre in August 2001, is free-revving and flexible. Available as a Sport only, it tops the 323 range with alloy wheels, a CD multichanger and an RDS-equipped stereo.