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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

LONGTERMERS #2: Volume 4: Honda Civic 2.0IVTEC

Longtermer #2: Volume 4: Honda Civic 2.0IVTEC

Today = Three month anniversary since we took delivery of the Honda Civic 2.0iVTEC. Sent for 2nd service 5000km service 3 weeks ago to Sumber Auto Edaran, Jalan Universiti, PJ.. They performed oil change (MINERAL OIL!!!???). Why MINERAL Oil? I asked the service advisor AND WHY 5,000km service interval? My questions were not answered.

What is the service procedure? 1) Parked the car at designated bay, went to service office, take a number. 2) They designate a service advisor for you asked you to return around 3 hours later. 3) I saw them covering the seat and the steering.

Then, The Service Advisor talked my dad to purchase a “Central Locking Beeper” for RM290. “BEEEPPP” (Unlock), “BEEEPPP” (x3) lock. Previously, the central locking was silent type (just light blinking).

3 hours later, went to service office again, they updated my Civic's service logbook. pay up then only you can drive away your car.

The whole A-pillar cover came loose on left side AGAIN., they tried to fix it back, but the thing “Pop up” again after a while especially parking under hot sun as this car's not tinted.

Service aftermath: The car became more responsive and eager. Better acceleration and more refined on the road (smoother engine). 0-100km/h in 9.2 seconds. Not bad for a FIVE SPEED Automatic (In "D" mode instead of using "S" paddle - shift. If "paddle shift" slightly faster => Below 9 secs)).

Thus, the Civic 2.0IVTEC has better Acceleration than VW Jetta 2.0FSI (9.8secs), Skoda Octavia 2.0 FSI (10.1secs), Mitsubishi NEW Lancer 2.0 CVT (10 secs) and New Ford Focus 2.0i Hatchback (9.7secs).

Without further ado, Here’s the LOGBOOK:

Year of manufactured: 2008 (Duh!)
Current Value: RM113,000
Purchase price: RM126,000 (after deducting NCB)
Mileage when bought: 0008km.
Mileage last month: 4240km.
Mileage NOW: 5799km (as at 29 October 2008)

Average mileage per month: 1933km
Fuel consumption: 40L worth of petrol good for 470km (11.75km/L) mix driving of 60% city, 40% highway. 525km (Highway).=> 13.125km/L. A slight improvement over last month. The Civic went to KLIA and back 2 days ago only consumed slightly more than 1/4 of petrol.

1) Central Locking BUZZER: RM290 (6 month warranty)

BELOW: View from RRIM Forest reserve (2 weeks ago).

Parting shot, another angle of the Civic

End of longtermer #2 volume 4, thanks for having the patience to read it. Do come back on 29 November for next update.

Monday, October 27, 2008

LONGTERMERS #1: Update 4: FORD Telstar 2.0i4 DOHC 16v.

LONGTERMERS #1: Update 4: FORD Telstar GC6W 2.0i4 DOHC 16v.

Many things happened to my Telstar in the month of October. Firstly, my Telstar had been scratched 2 feet long from the right rear door to above rear tyres BY ANONYMOUS (see photo)

Secondly, my Telstar got ‘Kissed’ by a Kia Spectra driven by a Teenager in ROTHMANS ROUNDABOUT (in front of LISA DE INN Hotel). The teenager at first carried an "object" but put it back in the car after seeing a 200lbs BALD AND FAT MAN (that's ME) alongside 1 TALL Muscular SIZED INDIAN (my friend), he became a chicken, soft spoken, apologizing non-stop. At the end, he only paid me RM50. The rear bumper cracked, misaligned which also caused the BOOT difficult to close. (see photo below)

I set aside RM300 for repair. Ended up repairing the Brakes instead as I don’t have the budget to repair both. FYI, the bumper costs RM380 including Spraying and knocking the mounting back. Adding salt to the wound, the bumper’s sourced from Chop Shops.

The Ladyboss of the workshop which my boss recommended owned a lovely Mazda 626 V6. Here’s the picture:

Oh, I decided to keep my Telstar (below) for AT LEAST another year. Hence, I have plans for this car. 1) Eibach PRO-KIT sports Springs. 2) Simple Top overhaul, 3) New paint (Mazda 6’s Sparkling Silver) – while at it fix the scratches, dents, bumpers, rust blisters in roof (more on it in next month’s report) .

Without further ado, let’s proceed to the Logbook.


Year of manufactured: 1998 (registered January 1999)
Purchase price: RM42,000 (Aug 2005)
Current value: RM18,000 (As at October 2008)
Depreciation per year (averaged): RM8,000

Mileage last month: 136790km.
Mileage now: 137483km.

Fuel consumption: Now using back to Mobil RON97. RM80 (33L as at RM2.45/L) lasts for 200km.

Expenses (this month)
1) RM169. Replaced rear right brake caliper kit and topped up brake fluid (see 2 photos below)

Picture above: Brake fluid also changed...

That’s all folks, do come back next month (End November) for further updates.

Thursday, October 23, 2008






Malaysian auto sales climbed in July this year, driven by demand for compact cars as the fuel price hike a month earlier forced local consumers to shift to fuel-efficient cars.

Car sales jumped 10 per cent to 53,984 units in July from the preceding month and 20.2 per cent on the same month last year, the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) said.

The rise was due to good sales performance of smaller engine-sized cars, mainly Proton and Perodua, it added.

The MAA expects demand for cars with smaller engines to continue in August in view of the current consumer appetite for compact cars.

It said vehicle sales rose 25 per cent to 331,957 units in the first seven months of 2008 from 265,665 units in the previous corresponding period.

In July 2008, total industry production soared 28.3 per cent to 51,531 units from 40,149 units in the same period last year.

Total production in the first seven months of this year was 26.9 per cent higher at 314,753 units as against 247,975 units in the same period last year.

Of the total, passenger cars accounted for 287,248 units while the balance of 27,505 units were commercial vehicles.


However, industry officials and analysts remain cautious on the outlook for the rest of the year.

The domestic auto sector is bracing for a challenging period as demand for cars and commercial vehicles may be adversely impacted by high inflation and soft economic growth.

MAA expects total industry volume (TIV) sales figure in the second half of this year to decline 16.5 per cent compared with the first six months. That means 45,874 units fewer than 277,973 vehicles sold in the first six months of the year.

The association, however, is maintaining its full year TIV target of 510,000 units.

MAA expects sales of passenger vehicles to be almost flat year-on-year in the second-half period. However, it forecasts demand for pick up trucks and delivery vans to plummet 28 per cent, a sign that the domestic economy may be slowing down.

MAA president Datuk Aishah Ahmad said the association would have lowered its sales forecast for the year had the central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia, raised interest rate to rein in inflation.

Many analysts expect sales volume to dip towards the end of the year, citing factors such as tightening of credit for car buyers amid deteriorating economic outlook.

RHB Research Institute said consumers would likely hold back big-ticket purchases, including new cars, amid rising inflationary pressure.

Analysts noted that Malaysia's consumer sentiment index compiled by the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) plunged to an all-time low in the second quarter after the government raised petrol and diesel prices by 41 per cent and 63 per cent respectively in early June.

Many consumers now have a lower disposable income due to higher grocery bills and petrol prices as well as stagnant wages.

Automakers including Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd and UMW Holdings Berhad (KLSE:4588) also expect a slowdown in auto sales in the second half of this year.

UMW predicts total industry volume for motor vehicles to taper following the hire purchase interest rates hike and fuel price increase.

"Nevertheless, the group is well-positioned to meet consumers' preference for more fuel-efficient vehicles, with our range of models in the medium and small passenger car categories," it said.

Honda Malaysia's managing director and chief executive officer Atsushi Fujimoto said: "The overall market is expected to go down in the second half of 2008. The fuel price hike in the first half had forced Malaysian consumers to look for fuel-efficient cars, a feature that is well associated with Honda cars."

He expects industry sales of 520,000 units this year, 10,000 more than the MAA's forecast of 4.7 per cent expansion to 510,000 units from 487,176 last year.

Fujimoto is upbeat about his own company's sales. He said Honda Malaysia has revised its sales forecast upwards and expects to sell 35,000 cars this year up from the previous estimate of 33,000 units.

He said Honda vehicles are likely to make up 6.5 per cent of the overall market share.

As more Malaysian consumers turn to fuel-efficient cars, Honda believes it will sell more hybrid cars, especially with the waiver of import and excise duties for fuel-efficient hybrid cars, announced in the recent government's budget for 2009.

Honda Malaysia is one of only two domestic carmakers offering hybrid cars. The other company is Premier Hybrid Cars Sdn Bhd.

Premier Hybrid chairman Datuk Shahrin Zahari said the tax break is a big boost for the infant hybrid sub-sector.

"We are now expecting more players in the marketplace," he said.


Proton Holdings Bhd (KLSE: 5304), Malaysia's national carmaker, is back in the black in the first quarter of its current financial year, helped by strong sales of its main models, Persona and Saga.

It posted a net profit of RM52.03 million in the quarter to June 30 2008 against a loss of RM46.75 million in the same period last year.

Revenue rose 49.5 per cent to RM1.71 billion from RM1.14 billion.

Proton also saw its overall vehicle sales increase 41.72 per cent to 39,888 units from 28,145.

"This is the fourth consecutive quarter of profitability for Proton as the company ramps up its strategy to recapture its leading position in the local automotive market," Proton chairman Datuk Mohammed Azlan Hashim said.

He said the results demonstrate the company's ability to turn around in a competitive market and proves that its strategy of having "the right car at the right price and at the right time" is working well.

The company expects to sustain the performance for the rest of the financial year.

As of 31 July 2008, Proton's share of the domestic passenger car market is 33.8 per cent, with 86,388 registered cars in the country.

Proton's much-awaited MPV model is slated for launch early 2009.

Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua), the country's largest car company by sales, expects to capture nearly 32 per cent of the market in 2008. This is slightly down from Perodua's 33 per cent share in 2007.

But the expected Perodua volume of about 170,000 units for this year will be higher than about 160,000 units last year.

"We have sold about 100,000 cars in the first seven months," managing director Datuk Syed Hafiz Syed Abu Bakar said.

The company's Myvi accounted for 52,724 units of the 100,000 units.

Hafiz said July 2008 was the best month in the history of the company with total sales of more than 17,000.

The Myvi, the country's number one car model in the past three years, had its best ever monthly sales in July at about 8,500 units.

The enhanced Myvi is expected to continue the model's dominance.

But Hafiz said the gap between Perodua and its rivals is expected to narrow further after this Hari Raya season in October, as car manufacturers usually resort to heavy promotions to boost or maintain sales in the slow year-end months.

"We already anticipated this to happen when our competitors launched new models and slashed the selling price of their outgoing models," he said.

UMW Holdings Berhad, the assembler of Toyota cars, has registered second quarter pre-tax profit of RM354.998 million, up 111.5 per cent from a year ago.

Revenue rose 42.5 per cent to RM3.57 billion from RM2.50 billion previously.

"Strong profit posted by the automotive segment as a result of higher Toyota and Perodua vehicle sales, robust performance from the equipment segment and favourable foreign exchange rates accounted for the higher group profit before taxation for the current quarter ended 30th June 2008," UMW said.

UMW said it sold 138,501 units of Toyota and Perodua in the six months to 30 June 2008, representing 49.8 per cent of the total industry volume of 277,974 units.

Tan Chong Motor Holdings Bhd (KLSE:4405), which assembles and retails Nissan cars, has booked a net profit of RM68.1 million for its second quarter ended 30 June 2008, more than triple that of the RM21.9 million in the previous corresponding period.

The improved earnings were made on sales of RM784 million compared with RM430 million previously.

Tan Chong said "demand for Nissan vehicles outstripped supply in the first half of the year, giving the group an unprecedented period of brand acceptance."

That enabled the group to lift its market share to 5.4 per cent in the first half from 3.8 per cent in the previous corresponding period.

Tan Chong attributed the growth in its net profit margin to 8.7 per cent in the second quarter from 7.1 per cent in the preceding quarter in spite of rampant cost-push inflation.

"Almost three months after the fuel price hike in early June, our daily bookings in June to August are still at a comfortable range of 100 to 150 units and our ability to timely deliver quality products has improved with the second shift," it added.

Although the MAA forecast the total industry volume to drop in the second half of 2008, Tan Chong said: "We endeavour to buck the industry trend."

Its directors have approved an investment of RM120 million to expand the Serendah plant capacity to 53,760 units a year from 28,800 currently.


The Malaysian government's budget for 2009 has several incentives for the domestic auto sector.

One of them is the waiver of import and excise duties for fuel-efficient hybrid cars. Another incentive is the reduction of the road tax structure for diesel-powered vehicles for private use, making it level with that of petrol-fuelled vehicles, effective from September.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi proposed the exemption of the 100 per cent import duty and 50 per cent excise duty imposed on fully-imported hybrid cars with engine capacity below 2,000cc.

The two-year exemption for franchise holders is to help them prepare for the local assembly of such cars, Abdullah said.

Motor vehicles from Asean countries now have zero import duty, while those from non-Asean nations are slapped with 30 per cent import duty.

There are also local excise duties of 60 to 105 per cent on Asean and non-Asean vehicles, on top of another 10 per cent sales tax.

Meanwhile, the International Trade and Industry Ministry is reviewing the National Automotive Policy (NAP) for consideration by the Cabinet before year-end.

Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the NAP, introduced by the government in March 2006, was biased towards protecting the local automotive industry and did not encourage the overall development of the industry.

He said Malaysia had missed many opportunities because of the NAP as many potential investors had diverted attention to other countries in the region.

"The policy seems to be too protective. It does not encourage development of the industry as a whole," he said.



1) 2O09, 2) 2010, 3) 2011
Passenger vehicles 1) 481,000. 2) 499,000. 3) 512,000.
Commercial vehicles 1) 49,000 2) 51,000 3)53,000
Total industry volume 1)530,000. 2) 555,000. 3) 565,000.
Growth (%) 1) 3.9. 2) 3.8. 3) 2.7.

(Source: Malaysian Automotive Association)


Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA)

Block 4, Plaza Sentral

Jalan Stesen Sentral 5

Kuala Lumpur Sentral

50470 Kuala Lumpur


Tel: 603-2267 3633

Malaysian Automotive Association

Tel: 603-7955 0454

Fax: 603-7955 0954

Proton Holdings Bhd

Tel: 603-5191 1055

Fax: 603-5191 1252

Website :

Perodua Sales Sdn Bhd

Tel: 603-6092 8888

Fax: 603-6733 0289

Website :

(Sources: Malaysian Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysian Automotive Association)

SOURCE: Copyright (C) 2008 Asia Pulse. All rights reserved
News Provided by COMTEX

Saturday, October 11, 2008

FULL REVIEW: Honda CRV 2nd Generation

In this blog entry, I’ll cover the Honda CRV 2nd generation. This is a special request by one of my loyal reader. The CRV’s on sale in Malaysia from 2001 to 2006. It’s Locally assembled in Malacca and priced at RM146,000 when new. Here’s the used car prices as at 10/10/2008.

Year: 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 (Facelift) 2006
Price:RM65k RM70k RM78k RM84k RM96,000 RM105,000

What to look out for:
See "Owner's Review".

As usual, I don’t have a car to test and/or brag about. Hence, I dished out a “Supertest” from GOAUTO Australia.

MSN Auto Averaged user and/or owner rating (by 500 owners)

User Reviews
8.7 Overall Rating
8.8 Styling
8.6 Performance
8.4 Interior
8.9 Quality
8.7 Recommendation

Source (a) – see references at the end of this review.

Model release dates: December 2001 - October 2003


HONDA's new-for-2002 CR-V has plenty to live up to. Coming on the back of a host of capable new alternatives and amid sliding overall sales, the 2002 model is the successor to the original that became Australia's top-selling compact off-roader. The all-new CR-V continues the tried-and-proven formula pioneered by its popular predecessor, with a very familiar, slightly more aggressive and angular bodyshell design that is both bigger and heavier. There's a more powerful engine to compensate, however, as well as what Honda claims are significant improvements to ride, handling and safety. The new CR-V is crisper, cleaner and even further refined, even if it's slightly low-key compared to some of its rivals.

It wasn't the first compact four-wheel drive wagon, having been beaten by compatriots Toyota RAV4 and Suzuki Vitara, but the original CR-V has been Australians' "soft-roader" of choice for the past three years. Released almost five years ago, the original was facelifted in March 1999.

The Car

MORE evolution than revolution, Honda's all-new CR-V has a pronounced V-shaped front-end that emphasises its revised grille and headlights. A high level of imitation chrome-plating is used on the grille and large central Honda badge, while the large cat-like headlight assembly, which incorporates turn indicators and park lights, is integrated with the front quater panel, bonnet and deeply sculpted bumper. The vehicle's overall dimensions have increased, along with the front track (distance between the wheels), which gives the CR-V greater road presence. Stronger lines and blunt edges around the bonnet and along the doors add to the rugged appearance without effecting CR-V's refined look. A stylish roof-rail runs the length of the roof gutter and turns down to meet the rear tail-light, which is mounted high on the D-pillar for good visibility.

The Car - Seat Plan

HONDA claims the CR-V's cabin space has increased by eight per cent. The high-mounted front and rear seating areas have plenty of head and legroom and the vehicle has generous window space all around. The centre console is still a foldable tray table, leaving enough room for front occupants to walk through to the rear. The walk-through facility limits the number of storage areas, which are nonetheless adequate in the standard CR-V - the Sport model adds seatback pockets. Sport and base models come with individual driver and front passenger armrests (automatic only) and the rear seat has a shared fold-down centre armrest with cupholders that can be used when the centre seat is free.

The Car - Seats

CR-V was among the first light-duty, recreational four-wheel drives on the market - what have become known as soft-roaders. Soft is a good way to describe the interior of the new CR-V Sport with its car-like velour seat trim, head restraints, door trim inserts and floor coverings. Both CR-Vs offer ease of entry and exit and driver's seat height adjustment, with the Sport's seat cushion wings finished in vinyl. The automatic transmission Sport model has in-board, fold-down armrests for the driver and front passenger.

The Car - Dash

HONDA designed an all-new dash for the 2002 CR-V, making it bolder with a taller centre section and adding larger climate control dials, an integrated handbrake that mates with the dash design when released and a matching grab handle on the passenger side. The centre of the dash has a large open compartment sized to hold music CDs for the stereo directly above. Below this is a covered compartment but the unlockable glovebox leaves the car with no lockable storage. Above the glovebox is a recess that runs the same width at an opening of about 10cm, otherwise the dash is simply a slightly curved, smooth surface void of storage wells. The instrument panel is sheltered by a hooded binnacle in the dash that keeps the sun off the instruments most of the time. There are four air vents and two front window demister vents, as well as the usual windscreen vents.
Did you know?
The rear seats in the CR-V move independently fore and aft to give passengers greater seating flexibility

The Car - Controls

IMPROVED window switchgear is positioned forward on the armrest of the driver's door and has auto up/down and anti-pinch function. The steering column is tilt-adjustable but no longer holds the automatic transmission lever, as was the case on the previous model - this is now dash mounted where specified. The pad for adjusting the external electric mirrors is mounted forward of the window controls, as is the window control lock button. Stalks for lights and wipers are located right and left respectively, while steering wheel-mounted cruise control is available on auto Sport models only. The tachometer is styled to match the speedometer and two smaller guages for fuel and temperature complete the set, one at either side of the larger central pair.

Did you know?
The CR-V has a dash-mounted handbrake that when released forms part of the dash design. The handbrake arm is matched on the passenger side with a grab handle

The Car - Wheels/tyres

FIVE-SPOKE, 15-inch polished alloy wheels, including a full-size alloy spare mounted on the rear tailgate, are fitted on the CR-V Sport. The base model CR-V is fitted with five-spoke styled steel rims and both models fit 205/70R15 96T tyres. Honda has two supply arrangements for tyres, so the brand of tyre fitted as new may vary between vehicles of the same year.

The Car - Luggage

THE rear cargo floor of the original CR-V did not escape the notice of Honda's designers. They turned this otherwise singular item (a lid to cover the cargo floor storage space) into a valuable piece of holiday equipment - a foldaway picinic table. The foldaway table remains on this model and is now larger at 759.4mm by 850.9mm and stands 680.7mm high. The cargo area has been increased by the use of a more compact rear suspension that intrudes less around the rear wheel arches. The area is fully carpeted and has four foldaway, tie-down anchors. The tailgate has three storage pockets and a rubbish bag hook, and the new tailgate window, which also opens remotely from the key fob, raises itself on twin gas struts for hands-free access.
Did you know?
Additional storage space is found under the cargo floor on Australian CR-Vs, as the spare wheel is mounted on the tailgate whereas some other countries carry the spare wheel inside the car

The Car - What's changed

A NEW 2.4-litre i-VTEC engine replaces the 2.0-litre non-VTEC engine, delivering 118kW of power and 220Nm of torque quietly and efficiently. Suspension was revised to increase front leg room and rear cargo space, and the braking system has been upgraded to discs front and rear with load balancing control and ABS on the Sport model. Styling is similar to the outgoing model but the many subtle changes make it a more ruggedly appealing design. The front of the vehicle is V-shaped and the grille, bonnet and headlight assembly are now striking features. The rear tailgate has a tailgate window that can be opened from the key fob for loading and unloading smaller items.

Did you know?
The CR-V is longer, taller, heavier and narrower than its predecessor but retains the same wheelbase measurement of 2620mm

The Car - Stand out features

THE original CR-V received high praise for its innovative seating design and this still features as one of the key selling points. This model sees a change to the rear seats from 50/50 split fold to 60/40 with a single fold-away centre arm rest and cupholders, while the walk-through area from the front to the rear seats remains unchanged. The back rests of the rear seats fold forward to form a low cargo barrier with the front seats and reveal a flat floor to the rear door. Greater interior space is achieved through improved suspension design and the rear cargo floor still converts into a picnic table, which is now considered part of the CR-V experience.
Did you know?
The column-shift automatic transmission has an "overdrive" button on the end of the gear lever for easy switching between D3 and D4. A light on the dash tells the driver when D3 is selected

The Car - Climate control

THE rotary dials for heating and ventilation control featured on the original CR-V re-appear in a revised style on the new model. Previously, the fan control was placed furthest from the driver but has now been moved closer. Air-conditioning is standard on both CR-V and CR-V Sport and its operation is made easy with a large central button at the bottom of the temperature dial. The air-conditioning cools the large cabin easily and cycles on and off without causing the engine to lose too much power.

The Car - Sound system

A SINGLE-CD player with AM/FM stereo is mounted high in the centre of the dash with its four speakers mounted in the front and rear doors. The system has six channel presets and a CD auxillary function. It provides good listening in the quiet cabin but operation is made awkward by the long reach to the dash centre when the seating position is set back. A large storage bin is located under the stereo in the centre of the dash for storing CDs and other items, but these items are in full view and there is no lockable storage.

The Car - Security

HONDA claims the CR-V's keyless entry system now incorporates a copy protection system that makes cloning the keyless entry code virtually impossible. This is achieved through the use of a random code that changes each time you lock or unlock the vehicle. The ignition key is cut to a new "wave key" design, making it difficult to copy. The key fob opens and locks all doors and a separate button opens the tailgate window. The fuel filler flap is opened via a remote lever mounted low on the driver's side kick panel.

Did you know?
The CR-V is fitted with two 12-volt accessory outlets, one cigarette lighter in the instrument panel and one in the rear cargo area. Both are rated to 120 watts, which means they will run a car fridge, air mattress or tyre inflator

We like: Roomy interior, refined/powerful engine, rugged styling

We don’t: Non-selectable 4WD, soft suspension, torque steer

Our Opinion

By STEVEN BUTCHER 25/04/2002

HONDA'S new-for-2002 CR-V is as close to the outgoing CR-V as you can get and still call it a new vehicle.

Styling changes are more a spruce-up than a full redesign but Honda claims the latest CR-V is new from the ground up with significant improvements to ride, handling and safety.

CR-V was Australia's top selling four-wheel drive in 2000 and Honda has sold more than one million units worldwide.

Honda's rival Toyota transformed the RAV4 in 2000 with a very angular style and in October 2001, Nissan launched the X-Trail with similar upright, sharp lines.

Both these vehicles are competitors to the CR-V and may have contributed to its new, more aggressive styling.

Honda has retained the overall shape of the old CR-V while introducing its own hint of angular styling to the bonnet, which dips down from the front quarter panels across the centre area, instead of rising up as before.

The quarter panels and doors have a sharper crease beneath the window area.

The front of the vehicle has been shortened and is more V-shaped. This new nose design has given the CR-V a tighter turning circle (10.4 metres) and Honda claims greater manoeuvrability due to increased driver visibility.

The headlight assembly is stylish, large and cat-like, incorporating the turn indicators and park lights as it moulds in with the bonnet, front bumper and quarter panel, thereby making it highly visible from a wider angle.

A generous amount of imitation chrome plating has been used on the bold grille, which is crowned with a large Honda badge.

CR-V's practical use of plastic in the flared wheel arches and along the door sills extends to the lower bumper/spoiler area, both up front and to the rear.

Despite an obvious strengthening of the design to create a more distinctive and rugged looking vehicle to compete in this hot market segment, the crisp, clean new CR-V remains slightly low-key compared to some of its rivals.

A new 2.4-Litre i-VTEC (intelligent-Valve Timing Electronic Control), four-cylinder, 16-valve engine replaces the previous 2.0-litre engine and provides greater power and torque while maintaining the CR-V's reputation for economy and low emissions.

The i-VTEC engine produces 118kW of power at 6000rpm and 220Nm of torque at 3600rpm, while returning 10.0L/100km in the city and 7.0L/100km on the highway, under normal driving conditions.

NOTE: In Malaysia, this 2.4L IVTEC Engine CRV was brought in by Naza and Mofaz in limited numbers.

The four-speed auto has an active lock-up button, or overdrive, on the transmission selector stalk to lock-up forth gear on the highway and improve fuel economy.

Honda has developed an exclusive Grade Logic Control for the auto, which constantly compares engine load and vehicle speed, computing the shift pattern required to meet the driving conditions and prevent the vehicle from hunting.

The gears are easy to find but correct engine speed is important to make a smooth shift and get the vehicle's bulk (1500kg) moving.

The CR-V Sport sits nicely on the open road with its wide front track of 1533mm giving it a sure-footed feel, but the ride is soft and less than sporty.

Being a high-sided wagon, it suffers from bodyroll on bends and tight corners when pushed - leading to vagueness through the steering.

Around town the soft suspension can be appreciated while the high driving position and large window area afford good visibility, making it is easy to manoeuvre and park.

An entirely new chassis is said to provide greater torsional rigidity, bending rigidity and reduced noise and vibration.

The CR-V features four-wheel independent suspension. Up front it is toe-control link MacPherson strut and to the rear, reactive link double wishbone.

Both are compact and do not intrude into the cabin, providing greater legroom for front seat passengers and greater luggage space in the cargo area.

The CR-V Intelligent RealTime 4WD system has remained unchanged, with its dual pump mechanism controlling a multi-plate clutch in the rear differential to provide drive to the rear wheels when the front wheels begin to lose traction.

It is this part-time four-wheel drive principle that allows the CR-V to exhibit a quieter ride, lighter handling and greater fuel economy than full-time four-wheel drives.

The down side to Honda's intelligent real-time 4WD system is the driver has no control over when it is active or inactive. Instead, you must wait for the mechanics of the vehicle to detect wheel slip before rear-wheel drive assistance can begin.

At the point where the vehicle begins to lose traction, you are forced to wait for the hydraulic pump to build up pressure and engage the rear differential before the drive train can be connected to the rear wheels.

The CR-V is, at best, a front-wheel drive with part-time rear-wheel drive assistance and as such is not a go-anywhere vehicle. (It has no low-range - L4 - four-wheel drive.) So while it's no Range Rover, nor does it require the fuss of shifting a lever, turning a dial or even getting out of the vehicle to engage an axle hub.

Producing 9.25 per cent more power and 20.85 per cent more torque than the engine it replaces, the new i-VTEC engine moves the CR-V briskly along - with the only negative being torque steer or tugging on the steering when accelerating.

Torque steer on this vehicle can be subtle or sharp, depending on the traction available (most noticeable on gravel and wet bitumen) and is a significant drawback of this new higher torque engine.

The versatile seating options and adequate storage space make the CR-V an alternative to be considered next to a traditional four-cylinder wagon or people-mover, as it seats five passengers with walk-through ability and all the usual creature comforts.

The driver and front passenger get bucket seats as before (with optional armrests on the auto model only) but the rear bench seat, which was 50/50 split-fold, is now 60/40 split-fold, providing greater flexibility and use of the cargo area.

Adding to the versatility is the foldaway centre tray table in the front and dual-purpose picnic table in the back (it acts as the floor in the cargo area), which owners of CR-Vs have come to expect and new owners should enjoy.

The dash is now the place to find the automatic shift selector that was formerly mounted on the steering console. The handbrake lever has also become part of the dash as Honda moves the interior styling forward several years in one step.

Honda's designers also greatly improved the style and functionality of its "three-dial set" of ventilation and climate control dials on the new CR-V to make it a strong feature of the sporty interior.

The tailgate or rear door still hinges correctly from the right-hand side and gets a new self-raising tailgate window that opens separately, giving access to the cargo area.

The floor height of the cargo area has been lowered, making it easier to load and unload goods.

The CR-V Sport comes with added features over the base model CR-V such as 15-inch alloy wheels, electric glass sunroof, hard type spare wheel cover, dual airbags, ABS brakes and front fog lightss.

Overall, the CR-V Sport is a comfortable package with its soft interior, elevated driving position, good visibility and smooth, economical i-VTEC engine.

Provided the intention is not to go too far off-road, it should satisfy the needs of an adventurous family or deliver two people and plenty of luggage to most destinations in style and with ease.

Mechanical - Engine

THE biggest single change in the CR-V is the increase from a 2.0-litre non-VTEC engine to a 2.4-litre i-VTEC engine. Apart from the increase in capacity, the difference is really the i-VTEC technology. Variable valve timing gives the engine a greater power and torque range as well as improved fuel economy and lower emissions. The i-VTEC engine employs two technologies: VTEC - a mechanism for switching cams between low and high-speed ranges; and VTC - a cam phase control system based on engine speed and load. The result is an engine that performs well under most situations. Around town there is plenty of torque available to move with the traffic, without the need to work the gears hard, and on the highway there is plenty of top-end power to overtake safely. The engine is quiet and revs freely to the higher end of the scale with no noticeable vibration.

Mechanical - Suspension

HONDA revised the fully independent suspension on the CR-V to introduce a new front and rear set up. Previously double wishbone all-round, the CR-V now has single wishbone with toe-control link MacPherson strut at the front and double wishbone with reactive link rear suspension. Both front and rear use stabiliser bars and Honda's progressive valve gas shock absorbers. The result is greater interior space through more compact design and a softer, quieter ride. But the suspension lacks the stiffness to hold the vehicle firmly when cornering at speed and body roll is noticeable to the point that it affects steering response.

Mechanical - Transmission

CR-V Sport is available in both auto and manual. The four-speed auto has a lock-up torque converter to provide greater highway fuel economy and Honda's Grade Logic Control - a system that automatically downshifts and holds a lower gear when climbing a steep grade. Honda has improved the shift quality of the five-speed manual to give it a more sporty, short throw feel but the gear knob is small and does not suit the larger proportions of the vehicle. Technical specifications have been upgraded with the use of triple or double cone synchronisers on all forward gears except fifth, which uses a single carbon-faced synchro. Fuel savings have been made by using less transmission oil to reduce losses caused by viscous friction.

Mechanical - Brakes

CR-V Sport is fitted with 282mm ventilated front disc brakes and 282mm non-vented rear disc brakes. An anti-lock braking system (ABS) comes standard on the Sport model but remains unavailable on the base CR-V grade. The Sport model also has electric brake force distribution (EBD), which optimises the front and rear brake pressure distribution to provide more efficient stopping power and greater vehicle stability.

Mechanical - Steering

THE CR-V has kept its high mounted power-assisted rack and pinion steering system. The turning circle has been reduced by 0.2 metres to 10.4 metres as a result of the change in front suspension. The turning circle compares well with other similar sized vehicles and requires 3.26 turns lock to lock. The amount of power assistance required is automatically controlled in accordance with the front wheels' resistance to steering force - increasing the steering assistance at low speed and reducing it at high speed. This helps maintain a positive steering feeling and straight-line stability.
Did you know?
Honda claims the new toe-control link MacPherson strut front suspension design delivers quick, responsive handling by helping maximise each front tyre's contact with the road throughout the range of suspension travel


HONDA claims its designers and engineers approached the body structure of the 2002 CR-V to provide "all-around protection". Engineers used computer-based stress analysis programs to add 50 per cent greater torsional rigidity and 30 per cent greater bending rigidity to the CR-V, resulting in improved ride, handling and safety. Honda's G-Force Control or G-Con technology enhances the vehicle's ability to absorb energy in a collision by the use of front and rear-end structures which help retain a crush-proof cabin for occupants. Twin front airbags remain and no additional airbags have been introduced with this model. Beneath the skin there are a number of items that improve the overall safety level such as fire retardant interior, fuel tank roll-over valve, progressive crumple zones, seatbelt pretensioners and side impact protection.


1) Honda CR-V Sport 2) Toyota RAV4 Cruiser 3) Nissan X-Trail Ti


1) four-speed auto 2) Five-speed manual or four-speed auto
3) Five-speed manual or four-speed auto


1) Part-time four-wheel drive
2) Full-time four wheel drive
3) Switchable four-wheel drive


1) 2.354-litre front-mounted transverse 16-valve DOHC inline four-cylinder with variable valve timing

2) 1.998-litre front-mounted transverse 16-valve DOHC inline four-cylinder with variable valve timing

3) 2.488-litre front-mounted transverse 16-valve DOHC inline four-cylinder with variable valve timing


1) 118kW 2) 110kW 3) 132kW


1) 4555mm 2) 4195mm 3) 4510mm


1) 1780mm 2) 1735mm 3) 1765mm


1) 1710mm 2) 1680mm 3) 1675mm


1) 1500kg 2) 1328kg 3) 1440kg

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS (Malaysian spec): -updated Saturday (18/10). Source:(c)

Engine: 4 cylinders-in-line DOHC, I-VTEC 16v 1998cc, Honda PGM-FI fuel injection and engine management system. Light alloy block and head.
Bore/stroke: 86x86mm, Compression Ratio: 9.8:1.

Max Power: 115kw@6500rpm. Torque: 190Nm@4000rpm.

Transmission: Variable All-wheel-drive. Electronic controlled 4 speed automatic. Gear ratios:
1st) 2.684
2nd) 1.534
3rd) 1.081
4th) 0.695
Rev: 2.000
Final: 4.582

Front: Independent, MacPherson struts with coil springs and dampers.
Rear: independent trailing arms, double wishbones, coil springs and dampers, reactive link with anti-roll bar.

Steering: Rack and pinion, servo assisted. Lock to lock turn: 3.2. Turning circle: 10.4m

CR-V is fitted with 282mm ventilated front disc brakes and 282mm non-vented rear disc brakes. An anti-lock braking system (ABS) comes standard. So do the electric brake force distribution (EBD), which optimises the front and rear brake pressure distribution to provide more efficient stopping power and greater vehicle stability.

Other specification:
Ground clearence: 205mm

Maximum speed: 190km/h.
0-100km/h 12 seconds (as tested by "Auto International" (Malaysian) Car Magazine)

END OF SPECIFICATION. Again, source: (c)

END OF A LONG REVIEW, THANK YOU for having the patience to read it…

Source a) GoAuto Supertest by Steven Butcher
Source c) Auto International (Malaysian Car Magazine) Buyer’s Guide 2003. For Specifications of the CRV.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Full review: Mazda 323F Lantis 1.8GT(A) 5dr

Full review: Mazda Lantis 1.8GT(A) 5dr


Mazda 323F/Lantis were launched in 1994. It came with 4 bodystyles (see photos below). Picture 1: Mazda 323F Neo, Mazda Lantis Hardtop (back and front view), Mazda Lantis GT Hatchback AND Mazda 323F Protégé.

In this review, I’m focusing on the 323F Lantis 5 door. In Malaysia, the Lantis 5 door came OFFICIALLY with either 1.6 Manual, Auto or 1.8 Auto. Back in December 1995 it were priced from 86,000 (for 1.6M), 90,000 for 1.6(A) AND a whooping RM100,679.06 for the ABS Equipped Lantis 1.8GT.

Today, the 2nd hand pricing of the Lantis are as follows:
(Sourced: 1 The Star Metro Classifieds, 2) Motortrader Issue 375 to 395 averaged)
All prices in RM (Ringgit):
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
1.6M 18000 21000 23800 26000 29800 NA-
1.6A 18000 20500 23800 26000 29000 31k
1.8A ABS 21000 23000 25000 27800 NA- NA-
2.0V6** 22000 24000 26800 NA- NA- NA-

** => Very rare in Malaysia. Either Grey Import (recond) or Engine transplant.

In this blog entry, I dished out 3 reviews of Lantis 5 door hatchback. Review 1 from Malaysia, review 2 from UK and review 3 from GoAuto Australia.

Also, I'd like to personally add 2 reviews. How? By asking 2 Lantis 1.8 or 2.0V6 owners to allow me to check out your car for 15 minutes. I'll then write an article of your car AND adding photos as well. Will acknowledge your car (eg. Lee's from PJ's car). I set 1 month deadline (by September 19 - as this final draft was actually completed on August 19).

Meanwhile, enjoy my Article/reviews:

ARTICLE/REVIEW 1 FROM MALAYSIA. Source: Highway Malaysia, December 2005 issue.
By either Mr. Leeps P S Lee OR Mr. Chips Yap (2 editors, no indication who wrote the article).


It wasn’t long ago that the Mazda 323 Astina held a strong niche in the market because of its racy and exclusive styling. The “pop-up” headlights gave the Astina a unique touch that was generally not found in ordinary cars and usually associated with sport models.

When the Astina made way for the new Mazda 323 Lantis 5 door earlier this year, its successor was left with the unenviable position of taking over where the Astina had left off. We decided to find out if the new Mazda Lantis 1.8GT has the redeeming qualities to match its predecessor.

The testcar loaned was a 4 speed Automatic model and holds the flagship status of the range. It earns its top class image with a price just under or just above RM100,000, depending on the body colour. The cheaper option, the 1.6 5-door which comes with a 5 speed manual gearbox goes for under RM89000 on the road.

At certain angles, the new Mazda Lantis 5-door appears to have some of the Astina in its body styling. The tapering curve of the bonnet that flows gracefully up to the roof before sweeping gently down to the notchback rear reveals some Astina Influence. There is less of a rounded presence but a little more angular edges to cut some dynamic thrust into its sporty contour.

Strong supporting items include the well sculpted front airdam with large central vents for engine cooling, a spoiler on the read deck that blends superbly with the Lantis’ aerodynamically efficient lines and visually pleasing 5-spoke alloy wheels to bring out the macho character of the car.

In the place of the pop-up headlights are the more conventional type which are rather slim horizontal units that add to its breakaway culture from the ordinary. The current styling favoured by most Japanese carmakers has larger headlights (dual if possible).

Put together, the Mazda designers have shown that you don’t need to have exclusive features to capture the imagination of car buyers. Well crafted lines are a nice blend of well-chosen supporting features will do an equally good job of getting the adrenalin racing, just imbibe the visuals!

The striking part about the Lantis 5-door is that it is not as bulbous looking or as wieldy as its Ford Cousin, the hatchback. There is a slimmer and more svelte look as if the car has gone through a crash course at the slimming session. It’s that chic looking.

The reason why the Lantis 5-door is so different from its Ford cousin is because there is an understanding between them that one variant of the range would be different. For this generation of Mazda 323 and Ford Laser, the model that is chosen to separate them distinctly is the 5-door variant. Previously, it was the Ford TX3 which had no equivalent in the Mazda 323 range.


The air of difference is also noted inside the Lantis in some of the design adopted for key areas like the door arrangement, dashboard styling and instrument panel.

We were a little surprised to see a completely different instrument panel. It was not the same as that in the Lantis 1.6L sedan we tested some months earlier which featured the common facia adopted in the entire range of Ford Laser Lynx.

The one in the Lantis 1.8GT has a less sophisticated design but it’s still simple and effective. Each meter (there are four of them) features a raised circumferential outline, perhaps to add a touch of “Olde” sportiness.

The layout features the two big dials (for tachometer redlined at 7000rpm and speedometer) and to the right are two smaller dials, one on the top of another (see picture below), to serve as fuel level and coolant temperature. On the extreme right is the gear shift location indicator and a series of warning lights, including that for the standard Anti-lock Braking System (ABS).

With a different dashboard comes a different cowling and different air vent design that curves with the fascia. The layout of air-flow control, buttons for the rear demist and a hazard light, and the air-conditioning control are thus all different. The only similarity is the dummy buttons bunched up on each side of the steering column.


At the bottom, there’s no retractable cupholder facility and there’s generally an absence of practical coin trays. The central control has a lidded compartment between the seats that double as an armrest. This is good for bigger items like handphones or a purse but NOT coins.

Elsewhere, there is a small compartment just below the instrument panel that opens downwards. This is fairly deep box that seems best suited for a pair of sunglasses rather than coins. We used it once but the coins rattled all over as the car went over bumps and winding roads.

On the passenger side, the double glovebox feature was the only consistent feature. The upper compartment is actually meant for an airbag for the front passenger in models that have this item as standard. Otherwise, it’s turned into a second storage space with a top opening lid.

As for the other area of storing minor paraphemalia, there are no door pockets of the type that we have come to expect in the Mazda Lantis and Ford Lynx. Here too, the Mazda Designers seem to have tried something different.

The door pockets are designed in the midway point rather than at the bottom of the door panel. Each of them is covered by a lid that acts as an integral part of the door armrest. It has a deep compartment that should be wide enough for diaries, notebooks and even handphones.

The other half of the door armrest on the driver’s side locates centrally the controls for the power utilities, such as the windows and door mirrors. To assist in pulling the door shut is a little “ledge” above the armrest which needs a little getting used to.

Roominess in the cabin is a virtue that puts it above the Astina. The layout is more organized and rear headroom is –surprisingly – not too limited by the gently sloping C-pillar. There is also a foldable central armrest for the comfort of rear passangers.

True to its 5-door design, the rear seatbacks can be folded down in a 70:30 split format. The rear parcel shelf is easily removed if tall items need to be carried in the luggage compartment.


The Lantis 1.8GT 5 door is certainly a user-friendly car from the driver’s seat. There’s good level of adjustments including seat tilt and seat height. The latter features didn’t raise the seat too high to defeat its flashy image.

Although the rear windscreen is smaller as a result of the rear roof slant and there’s also the rear spoiler in the way, vision of the traffic behind is not as hampered as might be imagined. (the spoiler design allows a bit of the see-through).

A feature common to the Ford/Mazda range is the multi-speed intermittent wipers. It offers a variable range of intermittent speeds to suit various rainfall conditions. Unlike it’s Ford equivalent, the Lantis 5-door has frameless windows, a design feature that is usually found on sports models and Japanese hardtop variants.


The engine is transversely located DOHC which are largely similar to Ford Laser Lynx 1.8. This is an undersquare engine with small 83mm bore and long 85mm stroke to displace 1840cc. There are 4 valves per cylinder for efficient breathing and electronic multipoint fuel injection.

But the power figures claimed are slightly different from Ford’s: Mazda claims the maximum power output is 91.9kw against Ford’s 95.6kw at the same engine peak. The torque output is closer though at 159 to 160Nm peaking at 4000rpm. A 3-way catalytic converter is standard. Similarly, the 4-speed Automatic transmission is exactly the same right down to the final drive.

The slight difference in power output gives the Lantis a less impressive power-to-weight ratio of 12.7kgs/kw to Ford’s 12kgs/kw. It’s heavier than the Laser Lynx 1.8GTI Exec by 30kgs too, due to the added weight of a 5th door with its large glass area.


Initial drives revealed traces of a mild lethargic pace that called for a greater depression of the accelerator to get going. Generally, there was enough torque to putter around in city traffic and harder prompts on the accelerator had the engine opening up to gather pace.

With a stopwatch, the Lantis recorded a respectable acceleration time (for an Automatic), averaging 13.1 seconds from rest to 100km/h on normal automatic change-ups. Likewisem the kickdown performance was also brisk; slightly above 6 seconds against the Ford’s 6.2.

The tall gearing on the transmission system was also enjoyed in the Lantis; the engine speed was a relaxed 2500rpm at 100km/h increasing by 250rpm at 10km/h intervals. If the tachometer needle is at 3000rpm, you are definitely exceeding legal speed limit.


We couldn’t help being impressed by the firm and solid feel of the Lantis. It had a firmer feel than in the 1.6L sedan we drove earlier and was as good as in the Laser Lynx. Those who are comforted by such solid feelings in a car would find this Lantis model much to their liking. This was also experienced during high-speed runs; the Lantis felt as if it was glued to the road. As the engine had done more than 9000kms when it was loaned to us, its state was a quieter hum, even when stressed to 6000rpm. It revved smoothly; perhaps a bit too smooth for the sporty pretensions of the car.

The wind noise was bearable and the rustle generated by the wipers and door mirrors was not too intrusive. High exhaust resonance was mildly intrusive but the rumble of the tyres was higher than what we had expected. These were Malaysian made Silverstone STV138, 185/65VR14.

The winding road feel wasn’t too had either. With the “Hold” facility on the gearshift selected, which engaged and retained a lower gear, the Lantis could be kept at a fairly high speed through our favourite winding stretch. The steering was mostly accurate and mild understeer crept in if the car entered the corner a little too quickly.

The 4-wheel independent suspension with MacPherson struts all round, anti-roll bars front and rear and the multi-link rear that are significantly improved over the twin-transverse links introduced in the 1st generation Mazda 323 FWD, kept the car very predictable and forgiving. Body roll was well checked and it was hardly noticed.

The well selected spring ratings helped to balance its sure-footed quality with good ride comfort. Washboard road surfaces were ironed pretty quickly to maintain good poise and the good pliancy of the suspension system cut out a lot of the road harshness. This was despite the fact that the Silverstones did feel a little hard, especially over the bumps and speed-breakers.

The ABS-modulated brakes showed themselves to be impressive and effective during a couple of panic stop-and-steer routines. The pulsating feeling didn’t come through the brake pedal too strongly and we could steer confidently out of a simulated adverse situation.

The new Mazda Lantis 1.8GT 5dr is not a sportscar with a peppy start but it will go if you work the accelerator a fair bit. Like the Astina, is more of a fashion statement for those who want to project a young image but who like to drive at a modest pace. As the flagship of its class, it has the looks to complement its status and that should be its main draw.


Mazda 323 Lantis 1.8GT 5-door

Location: Front
Capacity: 1840cc
Bore/stroke: 83/85mm and Compression ratio 9:1.
Cylinders: 4 in line, transversely mounted
Valve arrangement: DOHC 4 valves per cylinder
Head: Light alloy
Block: Cast iron

Fuel feed: Electronic multi-point fuel injection
Catalytic converter: YES


Max Power: 91.9kw @ 6000rpm (125bhp@6000rpm)
Max Torque: 159Nm@4000rpm
Weight/power ratio: 12.7kgs/kW
Kw per litre: 49.9kw


Front wheel drive

4 speed automatic
1st – 2800
2nd – 1540
3rd – 1000
4th – 0.700
Rev – 2.333
Final drive ratio: 3.833


Bodystyle: 2 box, 5dr hatchback
Cd: 0.32
Side impact bars: Yes
Front suspension: Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, double acting telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar.
Rear suspension: Independent, multilinks, coil springs, double acting telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar.
Steering system: Rack and pinion, power assisted
Wheels & tyres: 5.5Jx14 alloy, 185/65VR14
Front brakes: Ventilated discs, ABS
Rear brakes: Discs, ABS.


Overall length: 4240mm
Overall width: 1695mm
Overall height: 1355mm
Wheelbase: 2605mm
Front/rear track: 1460mm/1460mm
Kerb weight: 1175kgs
Fuel tank capacity: 55 litres
Turning circle: 10.2m


Top speed: 190km/h (119mph – Source Whatcar? UK)
0-100km/h: 13.1 secs
50-80km/h (kickdown): 6.03 secs
RPM at 100km/h in OD: 2500rpm

NB: Performance tests were carried out at 9233kms on a car supplied by Cycle and Carriage Bintang. Actual performance may vary depending on mileage clocked, state of engine tuned, atmospheric conditions etc. Fuel consumption in particular, will vary depending on traffic conditions. Silverstone STV138 were fitted on the test car.

PRICE (Back in December 1995):

Retail price: RM96,775.41
Insurance: RM2723.90
Colour choices:
Kubuoko White, Silver Grey, Calypso red, Laguna Green, Nautical Blue (Add RM1918.75 for metallic finish)."

AGAIN, SOURCE: Above Review and specifications (except top speed): Highway Malaysia December 1995 issue by Leeps P.S. Lee.

Article 2 (From United Kingdom):
Mazda 323 Fastback (1994-98) by Farah AlKhalisi 29 May 2003

All the information on this page has been taken from

Prices: £1500-£5000
Engines: 1.5i - 1498cc, 90bhp, four cylinders; 1.8i - 1839cc, 115bhp, four cylinders; 2.0 - 1995cc, 147bhp, V6.

Check for: Full service history, minor electrical faults, scuffed bumpers and alloy wheels, general about-town knocks and scrapes, fulservice history as correct timing belt change is important.

Yes, it has five doors - we spotted that. But the bulbous M.azda 323 Fastback is the five-door hatchback that thinks it's a coupe, almost looks like a coupe, and has often been bought by people who thought that they wanted a coupe. If you're about to give up your two-door for all the usual reasons - imminent parenthood, getting a dog, getting too old to climb in and out of something low-down - or aren't quite sure whether to forsake five-door practicality for sporting looks, then this could be the car for you. It's not necessarily a compromise, and it's a lot more practical and livable-with than the rare and tiny MX-3. It's also cheaper, by virtue of being older and discontinued, than those other coupe-alikes, the five-door Alfa 147 and 156 saloon.

Mazda's hatchbacks haven't always been the most dynamic of offerings, but the 323 Fastback picks up where its pop-up-headlamped predecessor left off: slightly overlight to steer, but well balanced with good grip, lively engines and adept suspension. All the ingredients that make the MX-5 such a great drive, except, of course, rear-wheel drive. The 323 is also well equipped, to a higher level than equivalently-priced European hatches. All except the earliest 1.5s have twin airbags, while many have air-conditioning, and you should look out for special-edition models which usually have pretty metallic paint finishes, nice alloys and extra kit.
Keen drivers will have to have the 2.0 V6; it's beautifully smooth and refined yet torquey. However, the 1.8 is plenty fast enough for most, and even the 1.5 does the job.

Most Mazda 323s have led relatively sedate lives, so don't accept anything less than a full service history. As they're so reliable, lazy owners may have been tempted to skip a service or two. However, a large proportion of 323s have lived in town and have parking knocks, scrapes, bumps and scuffs, so you might have to get busy with the touch-up paint.

This artical has been sourced from

End of Article 2.

Article/Review 3 (Australian): Source: GoAuto Australia.
Car review: Mazda 323 Astina 2.0V6
Model release dates: July 1994 - September 1998


Mazda’s profit-obliterating proliferation of models reached its zenith with the Mk5 323 range, which included three sedan variations (carryover Mk4 BF 323 base, Protégé 4-door sedan and Astina 4-door Hardtop), a pretty new 5-door Astina hatchback, and four engines – 64kW 1.6L (323 base), 80kW 1.6L EFI (base Protégé), 92kW 1.8L (Protégé, Astina hatch and, from late ’96, Astina Hardtop) and an all-new 104kW 2.0L V6 powerplant reserved for the top line Astina V6 Hardtop sedan and hatchback - with the latter featured here. And while refinement, features and handling improved, Astina Hardtop buyers had less headroom for occupants to enjoy – a corollary of the model’s sporty aspirations. Nevertheless it makes a sweet, fast, refined and off-beat small car that was one of the first to be axed when Ford-controlled Mazda decided to go for the humdrum BJ Astina model of 1998...

We Like (+ve): Creamy smooth V6, refined and sophisticated engineering, practical hatchback body, great build quality, classy styling

We Don’t like: (-ve): 2.0 V6's absent low down torque and thirst when pushed hard

Our Opinion

THE Mazda 323 has been one of the mainstream small cars since it was released in 1977.

The last decade has seen the 323 grow in size and move upmarket while the new wave of budget-priced South Koreans have moved in underneath and now dominate the small entry level car sector.

When a new generation of the Mazda 323 range was released in mid- 1994 the top of the range Astina V6 set new benchmarks in styling, performance and refinement for small cars.

Compared to the previous model, the Astina was more aerodynamic, had more power and a larger interior.

The Astina was sold as a four-door hardtop or a five-door hatchback. To most peoples eyes, the hatchback was the better looking of the two and this made it the most popular buy.

The Astina's steep new price made sure it would never be a volume seller but the high level of equipment went a long way towards justifying the money and it cornered a sizeable share in the hot- hatch market niche.

Dual Airbags, a good five-speaker sound system with CD player, electric windows and cruise control were part of the Astina package.

The only options were air-conditioning and anti-lock brakes but ABS was moved onto the standard equipment list in 1995 to help justify a hefty price increase.

The Astina's 2.0-litre engine is a high technology statement which sets it apart from its rivals.

The little all-aluminium V6 has double overhead camshafts, variable length inlet manifold, four valves per cylinder and multi-point fuel-injection. The result is an extremely smooth and powerful engine with 104kW which is willing to rev right up to the 7000rpm red line.

Transmissions are either a five-speed manual or optional four- speed automatic. The suspension is typical small Japanese car with MacPherson struts at the front and struts at the rear.

On the road, the results are much better than average. The handling and cornering ability is almost up there with the best of the European hot hatches, which translates into competent, stable and safe without too much compromise in ride quality.

Mazda also worked hard on reducing road and suspension noise in the cabin and the Astina is much quieter inside than most of its competitors.

The Astina has retained its value better than most small cars, especially if it is a well cared for car with a service history. The extra complication of the high tech engine will make repairs more expensive and regular service will maximise the car's life.

The Mazda Astina V6 is a neat package of small, sporty and luxurious with styling that has stood the test of time.


LASTLY, MAZDA 323F LANTIS @ ASTINA is a Hot car among car enthusiasts as there’s almost endless modifications can be done to the car. Here’s some photo galleries of Mazda 323F Lantis @ Astina sourced from

Picture 1:
Owner: Stuart Butterworth (aka Stuartspel). Location:Driffield East Yorkshire Car: 323F BA 1.5 16V GXi

Picture 2 to 4: Owner: Craig Jenkins.

Picture Above: Owner: Murray Maclennan. Below: Owner: Adam Jakielski.

Picture above: Owner: Jay Williamson.

Below: Both picture of Lantis owned by “Joe Cool”, Location: The Netherlands, Car: 1996 323F BA 1.8I GLX

END OF A SUPER LONG REVIEW. Thanks for reading…

1) (ALL ABOVE Photos of “Owner’s cars” are members of this club.
3) (for Picture of Mazda Lantis Hardtop)
7) Highway Malaysia, December 2005 issue. Article by Mr. Leeps P.S. Lee or Mr. Chips Yap. There’s 2 editor, not sure who wrote the article.
8) John Mellor’s GOAUTO Australia Website