Mazda 323 (BJ (Mk6) 323)
Model: BJ (Mk6) 323
Jan / 1998Release date:
Jan / 2001End date:
Developed under the watchful eye of tight new taskmaster Ford, the sixth and final 323 generation shared most body panels and all running gear with its equally austere fifth generation Ford Laser
A shock for 323 buyers was just how much flair and individuality had stepped aside for space and efficiency, with no discernible improvements to refinement or driveability, despite being based on the bigger 1997 626 platform.
An airbag, air-conditioning and remote central locking became standard features on the base Astina hatchback and Protégé sedan models, now powered by a 78kW 1.6L engine, while the 92kW 1.8L versions added a passenger airbag, remote locking, alloy wheels, air-conditioning and a rear spoiler.
Air-conditioning became standard during ’99, while the Shades sales stalwart rematerialised late that year to keep sales bubbling, along with a one-off Astina 40th Anniversary edition and the Protégé 2000 Limited Edition in early 2000.