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Car reviews - Mazda - 121 - "Bubble" 4-dr sedan

Overview

12 Dec 1990

AS if to reflect the seemingly limitless aspirations and budgets of the late-‘80s Japanese bubble economy, Mazda chose a unique “bubble” design for its 1991 Mk2 121, while engineering a front-wheel drive light car that was taller, wider, stronger, better to drive and more refined than any rival on offer locally. And strangely enough it proved a smash hit here and nowhere else. Both young and old embraced the 121’s pert sedan styling (allegedly modelled on the human derriere), nicely ambient cabin, affable road manners, impressive frugality, and glowing reviews. Power came courtesy of an eager 1.3-litre engine of advanced specification. From the Series II facelift of January 1994, the range was split. The 1.3 was turned into a more basic vehicle with smaller wheels, no power steering or painted bumpers, while a new 62kW 1.5 engine arrived with all the goodies. Sales remained strong locally until stocks finally dried up, despite a host of newer rivals. Now mark these words... in years to come the Bubble's unusual appearance, endearing character and enduring appeal will make it a collectible classic...

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Model release date: 1 November 1990 to 1 May 1997

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