No no, I didn’t spell ‘Lotus’ incorrectly, I mean the Lantis. Today we’re going to look at the Lantis..
The what now?
The Mazda Lantis. If you’re a big fan of Gran Turismo 2 on the original PlayStation (serious disc 2 the simulation was one of the greatest games ever made) you might know it as the 323F but depending on where you are it could also be the Mazda Astina, Allegro Hatchback or Artis Hatchback (obviously the 323F is the pick of the name bunch here.)
There’s a rare Japan only/import only Type-R version with LSD and a few body style options like a different front spoiler, side skirts and ‘floating rear spoiler.’ While I’m yet to spot one in the wild, they look like this:
I’ve seen more than a few of these things getting around
You sure have, they’re everywhere. Very compact with early 90’s styling, the scaled down headlights are a big step away from the bigger light units the original 323 had.
So what did they come with then?
Some basic but handy power features – power steering and windows, electric mirrors and central locking. No cruise. A choice of inline 4 or V6 and if you opted for 6 cylinders, your wheels came with an extra stud (from four to five). Manual or auto. With plenty of examples around parts aren’t really a problem. Luxury it wasn’t but they worked well provided you didn’t need it to climb a lot of hills.
How did they rate?
I love this particular comment on Carsurvey.org:
I believe this will be my most favourite car unless I purchase a Ferrari.
Given the build dates of these things (93-98) some of the earlier examples have clocked up more than a few kilometres and as expected things are starting to wear/break down – calipers, transmissions, the interior. But on the whole most reviews are favourable with people praising their general reliability, economy and low cost of parts. Looked after, these things will last a very long time.
How much if I really wanted to add one to my line up?
It’s okay to admit that you’re a 90’s tragic. I was there too, it was a fun decade from what I remember. A quick look on Gumtree and we find a completely banged up version missing a few parts for a low $450, one that is blowing black smoke for $950 (the owner has written that if it wasn’t smoking like that they’d sell it for $2500) and one that works well aside from quite a few dings on various panels for $1000. So bargains to be had but do your mechanical homework first before snapping up the first one you see.
And if you love the things but can’t afford a full one, check out this pretty cool model we found on Amazon (still a bit pricey but you don’t have to put fuel in it.)
Got one yourself?
Love it, hate it, wish you could be buried in it? Let us know! Leave a comment and we’ll add your thoughts to this post shortly 🙂