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Used Mazda 929 review: 1991-1996

EXPERT RATING
7

Mazda might not be one of the first carmakers to come to mind when you think of luxury cars. The Japanese company is better known for the well built and competent family cars and sports models it builds, but the 929 released in 1991 challenged that perception.

It had classy looks and a stately manner, the sort of car that screamed success. But it also had the refined road manners to back up its claim to a place in the board room parking lot.

Model watch

The rear-wheel drive 929 was a luxury liner in every sense of the term. It was elegantly styled, well appointed with every conceivable feature, and quite capable of lining up alongside cars from other manufacturers that were automatically accorded luxury status.

With its sweeping lines and smooth curves the 929’s styling was attractive from all angles. There was little in the way of adornment, and apart from the small chrome grille little was needed when the basic design looked so good.

The curves, however, had an impact on interior space that was considered borderline in a car of the 929’s class. The tumblehome of the side glass cut into head and shoulder room, while front seat passengers complained of a lack of legroom.

Others complained that the boot was too small, and the solid bulkhead behind the rear seats, while contributing to the structural soundness of the body, meant there was no way of having a ski port to carry longer items of luggage when needed.

Power came from a smooth fuel-injected 3.0-litre V6 with double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. Peak power was put at 140 kW at 6000 revs while maximum torque was 270 Nm at 3500 revs.

With the right pedal hard on the floor, the 1627 kg 929 would respond by proceeding from rest to 100 km/h in the respectable time of 9.9 seconds, while covering the standard 400-metre sprint in 17.1 seconds on its way to a top speed of 212 km/h. Not sports car times, but quite acceptable for a luxury car.

The four-speed auto that came standard was smooth and well matched to the engine, while drive was through the rear wheels.

If you peered inside the wheel arches you’d spot independent front suspension by unequal length wishbones, coil springs and shocks, with a multilink independent system at the rear.

When pushed the big Mazda turned into corners quite confidently, and held its line as you applied the power on the way out. Once settled it adopted a slight bias towards understeer, which increased the harder you pushed and the body rolled. It was all safe and sound, unless you lifted off when you could find yourself with armfuls of oversteer to sort out.

Powerful disc brakes at both ends slowed the 929 with ease, with the aid of standard ABS for added safety.

On the road the 929 absorbed rough and rutted roads with commendable ease, while the occupants were treated to a comfortable and compliant ride cosseted in comfy seats trimmed in either cloth or leather.

Power adjustment was provided to achieve the best possible driving position, aided by the ability to adjust the height of the steering wheel.

It also boasted an impressive array of standard features including air-conditioning, cruise control, CD sound, power windows, power mirrors, central locking. Then there was the car with leather trim, which also had a leather trimmed steering wheel and a power sunroof.

In the shop

The big Mazda is holding up well in service, but like all cars getting on in age they need to be approached with caution.

It’s likely most have had two or three owners with the likelihood that later owners have become less interested in keeping them serviced by the book.

The 929 is a relatively complex car that needs to be regularly and correctly serviced, so it’s important to ask sellers for a record of service. Check it to confirm who has done the servicing, and talk to them to find out what has happened to the car.

The lack of rub strips down the body sides leaves the 929 vulnerable to small dings in parking lots so check the sides for chips, scratches and small dents.

With cars nearing the 200,000 km mark you could be up for a major service so keep that in mind on older cars. The last of the model, with 120,000 km or so on the odo should have had a major service and makes a better choice as a result.

Remove the dipstick and oil filler cap and check the state of the oil while looking for a build up of sludge, the killer of most modern engines.

Same for the auto fluid, which should be clear and red. If it’s not the transmission may need servicing.

In a crash

With no airbags the 929 relies on its safe and secure handling, with ABS on its disc brakes, for crash avoidance, and its mass and strong body structure for crash protection once a collision occurs.

Owners say

Twenty-year-old Darren Pollard always wanted a 929 and finally got his wish when he recently brought his 1992 929 in December. He loves its “Jaguarish” looks, its long list of features, four-wheel steering which makes it a breeze to park, but is not so rapt in the small boot, the way water drips on to occupants when windows are opened when wet, and the cost of parts.

Look for

• understated but elegant styling

• well appointed interior

• smooth unfussed performance of V6 engine

• superbly supple ride comfort

• good value for money

• Mazda badge lacks prestige of three-pointed star

• safe and secure handling

The bottom line

Well-built, well-equipped, refined luxury car albeit without cache of better known prestige badges. Look for later cars with lower mileage rather than earlier ones with high odo readings.

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
1996 $4,290 $6,930
1995 $4,290 $6,270
1994 $4,290 $6,270
1993 $3,410 $6,270
1992 $3,410 $6,270
1991 $3,190 $6,270

View all Mazda 929 pricing and specifications

Pricing Guides

$4,730
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$3,190
Highest Price
$6,270

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(4WS) (Cloth) 3.0L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,410 – 5,390 1991 Mazda 929 1991 (4WS) (Cloth) Pricing and Specs
(4WS) (Leather) 3.0L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $4,290 – 6,270 1991 Mazda 929 1991 (4WS) (Leather) Pricing and Specs
V6i 3.0L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,190 – 5,060 1991 Mazda 929 1991 V6i Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist

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