1995 Mazda MX-3 Precidia
1995 Mazda MX-3 Precidia
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The Mazda MX-3 Precidia may not be the original pocket-rocket, but you have to admit that its flying wedge design is distinctive and appealing (well I think so!). Its inaugural model-year in Canada was 1992, the final one was 1996, and it’s a great under-$10,000 used car buy today. The Precidia gave its main rival, the Honda CRX, a good sales race in a shrinking market segment that too many car buyers appear to have lost interest in.

A two-door hatchback, the original ’92 Precidia came in a base and a ‘GS’ version and got the award “Best New Sporty Car” from the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). The back seat is definitely “mini-me” territory, but up-front is a different story as there’s plenty of room – a big steeply raked windshield adds to the feeling of spaciousness. A large trunk and folding back seats can also transform the Precidia into a handy big-baggage handler.

The base engine is a peppy 88-horsepower 4-cylinder and the GS version has the smallest V6 ever marketed in Canada, a 1.8 litre rated at 130 horsepower. The four is the better engine choice for fuel economy and reliability. The V6 is prone to valve gear problems and should have a new timing belt by 100,000 km, however the extra horses under the hood make it perform more like its go-faster looks suggest.

In ’93 the base version was renamed the Precidia RS. Changes in ’94 included a complete makeover of the interior and a new dash with cup holders and air bags. The 4-cylinder engine got an extra camshaft, a power boost and a slight improvement in fuel consumption to 8.3 L/100 km (34 mpg) in the city and 6 L/100 km (47 mpg) on the highway.

There were only two recalls on the MX-3 and both are restricted to areas where road salt is used extensively during the winter months. Water and salt can get into the alternator of Precidias made between 1992 and 1994 and create an electrical short. However, a modified heat shield can be installed to prevent the problem. Another more serious corrosion problem can develop in the front suspension coil springs and this eventually could cause a coil spring to break.

We might see a sales resurgence in the mini-sport car category if gas prices continue to climb. Unfortunately, that will probably also make it harder to find a good used Precidia. A sporty attitude and looks to match, the Mazda MX-3 Precidia also has a practical side, is economical to run and has an enviable reliability record – now that’s a delicious combo!

Mazda MX-3 Precidia- Canadian Red Book Prices, January 2002

Year Model Price today Price new
1996 RS $7,475 $16,580
1995 RS $6,525 $16,070
1994 RS $4,325 – $5,825 $15,175
1993 Base $3,750 – $4,650 $13,995
1992 Base $3,225 – $4,025 $13,725

Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.

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