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Car reviews - Mazda - 323 - Astina 5-dr hatch


18 Nov 1989

IF the Mk3 323 from 1985 to 1989 was disadvantaged by its dull styling, then Mazda didn't make that mistake twice with the radical 4th-generation (BG) series from October 1989. Bold, crisp styling, stronger bodies and big improvements in handling, ride and refinement resulted in huge strides for a Japanese-made small car. A modern, glassy four-door sedan continued the traditional conservative styling theme, but the swoopy Astina five-door hatchback shared no exterior panels with it, and looked more like a 4-door coupe. Aiding this was a low bonnet line, pop-up headlights and an integrated rear spoiler. All engines were now 16-valve designs for improved efficiency. The Astina came in either an 84kW 1.8-litre single-cam model, or a 92kW twin-cam powerplant reserved for the popular luxury/sport SP Astina image leader. All models boasted power steering, cloth trim and central locking. In mid-’91 a new grille and wheel trims formed part of a minor facelift. Stylistically speaking, these were the 323's halcyon days...
Model release date: 1 October 1989 to 1 August 1994

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