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I recently bought a Mazda 323 GLX 1994 L reg car and only spent £330 on it. It is the best 330 pounds I have ever spent!! It starts first time even in the freezing cold and is very nippy for an old car. It probably does about 38 miles to the gallon and is in the £180 per year tax bracket.
The interior is a little bit naff and is a colourful grey and purple design however I have seen much much worse in more modern vehicles. The carpet inside the car is very thick and luxurious for an old vehicle and it has everything you need from a budget car.
It is very cheap to insure and I have been informed that Mazdas tend to run and run. Mine had done 85000 miles but I think there is plenty of life in it yet. It holds the road very well but one thing to be aware of is that it is very low to the ground so it would not be suitable for elderley people to get in and out of.
I have a Mazda 323 GLXI 1.6 with ABS (K reg). I bought it second-hand 3 years ago and love it. I paid £3990 for it in April 1999. It has never let me down and cost me very little in repairs. I have had the usual tyres and bulbs to replace and a new battery and exhaust but the only major work has been the drive shaft on one side. The other one now needs replacing as well (a year on). It has done 122,000 miles so far and still starts first time every time and runs superbly. The seat cloth design is a little tacky and outdated but is not a big issue. The car has electric sun-roof that not only opens on a tilt but opens up completely, electric wing mirrors, electric windows, abs, power steering and pop-up headlights. Parts can be quite expensive for Mazda's and some garages do not stock them on the shelf so you may have to wait for them to be ordered. This car is the closest I have ever had to a sporty looking car as it quite sleek looking and the pop-up headlights are nice touch. You are also sitting quite low down in the car so you feel as though you are getting into a sports car :-) Unfortunately mine has been bashed a few times in supermarket carparks so has a few dents down one side but if I give it a good clean it comes up looking like new. I have no rust spots and the bodywork is superb. I was really wary when I bought the car from a local dealer as it was an ex-company car so I figured that it would have been 'hammered' but I think I must have had "one careful owner" as it is fine. Overall I will be sad be sell it eventually but would definitely recommend Mazda's to anyone. They are definitely solid,reliable cars and I would definitely think about buying another one.