EUNOS/MAZDA 30X 1992 Ė 1997
Thursday, 10 March 2005
By EWAN KENNEDY

1992 Eunos 30X



Fully imported from Japan, the Eunos 30X is a small personal coupe with curvaceous lines and a miniature V6 engine. It wasnít a success in Australia and was only on our market between November 1992 and May 1996. It was then sold as a Mazda Eunos 30X in an attempt to grab buyer interest. This failed and the last imports landed in Australia in October 1997.

Eunos cars are designed and manufactured by Mazda, but were initially sold as a separate brand, attached to selected Mazda dealers, in an attempt to add exclusivity to the name.

The smallest Eunos is built to an astonishingly high quality with panel fit and paint finish that is close to perfection. Few cars, even those costing ten times the price can match, let alone better, the 30X in this respect.

The Eunos 30X is smaller than most coupes in its bracket. That means itís not quite so space efficient in the rear seat. Indeed the rear area is more of a trimmed, occasional compartment than a genuine back seat.

The Eunosí sleek appearance and ultra-smooth six-cylinder engine sets it apart from the four-cylinder crowd.

When the 30X first came to Australia only one model was offered. It was very well equipped, with air conditioning, a compact disc player, central locking, driverís airbag and power windows and door mirrors. Leather trim and ABS brakes were features of the next model, which arrived in February 1994. The upmarket model received the somewhat unusual name of the Eunos 30X Leather.

A 30X Sport version was sold from August 1994. As is the way too often with so-called sports models from Japan it didnít receive any more engine performance. It had a lower equipment level than the Leather went a little quicker because it weighed less. Major missing items compared to the Leather, were (obviously) the leather trim and CD player. It didnít have air conditioning, either, a sad omission in Australia.

The V6 engine is an advanced 1.8-litre unit with double overhead camshafts and multi-point fuel injection. It puts out 99kW and 159Nm. Engine performance is good at higher revs, but it is comparatively sluggish at lower revs. The driver has to adapt to the engineís characteristics to get the best from it.

Automatic transmission is probably the best option for the non-enthusiast driver for that reason. However, performance drops if an automatic is fitted.

Suspension is independent at all four wheels and was revised with a slightly wider track in 1994 to improve the already good handling characteristics. Handling is neutral until the car reaches relatively high cornering speeds, then shifts to gentle understeer.

There are still spare parts for the 30X at most Mazda dealers, though you may have to wait for less common bits to be shipped from Melbourne. Prices are generally reasonable, though we do get the occasional complaint from those who think they are too high.

Insurance costs vary quite a bit, but are generally less extreme than you might expect for what is, nominally at least, a sporty little machine.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The engine should start easily and idle smoothly and all but inaudibly. As mentioned, performance isnít great at low revs, but by about 3000rpm it should really start to move well and at 4500rpm hit its best range. Check that the engine doesnít smoke when accelerated hard after it has been idling for a minute or so.

Listen and feel for a baulking or crunching from the gearbox when fast changes are made. The third-to-second downchange is usually the first to show problems.
A whining differential is another sign or hard driving.

Check for damage caused by passengers getting into the small rear compartment through the rather tight front-door area. Scuffing of the door sill area, carpets and seats can look unsightly and lower resale value.

Look for signs of crash repairs, most noticeable are mismatched paint colours, slight ripples in the panels (best seen from almost end on), paint overspray on areas such as mirrors and exterior trim, and a poor quality finish in out-of-sight corners such as the underbonnet or inside the boot.

Play it safe and have a professional inspection by a qualified Eunos/Mazda mechanic, or your local motoring association.

HOW MUCH?
Expect to pay from $5000 to $9000 for a 1992 30X; $8000 to $12,000 for a 1993 30X Leather or a 1995 30X Sport; and $10,000 to $14,000 for a 1996 30X Leather.

CAR BUYING TIP
Cars that appear to be orphans, but which are actually looked after by the big automotive names, can be a safer purchase than you might expect.