Introduced to the market in 1992, the Eunos brand was created by Mazda as a new marque for its luxury vehicles, and it represented a marketing technique employed to imply that the vehicles using this marque must be a cut above the usual output of their parent company. This is a point emphasised by the way in which the name ‘Eunos’ is derived from the ancient Greek ‘eu,’ meaning ‘good’ in English, which suggests ambitiousness.
The Eunos brand was not successful, and its models were renamed as Mazda Eunos in 1996, until the Eunos name was finally completely discontinued in 1999. However, Eunos delivered some of the most technically adept automobile engineering to hail from Japan during its short lifespan. A contemporary promotional video of the Eunos 500 model from 1992 states that the Eunos brand is committed to providing ‘comfort, superb performance, beauty, reliability, durability, and safety.’ Despite the brand’s commercial failure, this is very much what it achieved.
Three models were made available under the Eunos brand. These were the 500 and 800 models in 1992, followed by the 30X model in 1994.
The 500 model was a four-door sedan with a 2.0L V6 engine that produced 103kW at 6000rpm and 175Nm at 5000rpm with a manual gearbox. The 500 models that were equipped with an automatic gearbox had slightly more output, producing 106kW at 6000rpm.
The 500 models with an automatic gearbox had a fuel economy of 8.3L/100km, whereas the manual-equipped model was slightly more economical, using 8.0L/100km. The 500 utilised Mazda’s Cronos platform, yet it was noticeably lower and narrower than Mazda models with which it shared a platform, with a width 1700mm, as opposed to the usual 1760mm.
The Eunos 800 was considered the flagship of the range. Arguably, the most interesting and best feature of the 800 is its supercharged 24-valve 6-cylinder 2.3L Miller-Cycle engine, which employs the late-intake-valve-closing principle to generate a performance to rival that of a high-performance 3.0L engine. Available only with computer-controlled automatic transmission, the 800 has an output of 147kW at 5500rpm and a torque of 550Nm at 4000rpm.
Standard kit is so comprehensive in the 800 that there is very little need for additional options. Indeed, for a car made in 1992 the list is astonishing. With twin airbags, ABS, and four-wheel steering as standard, the 800 was definitely ahead of its time.
In addition, standard kit included air-conditioning with climate control, electric sunroof, a CD changer for its high-quality BOSE stereo system, leather trim, power windows and door locks, cruise control, electrically adjustable front seats, and alloy wheels, rivalling the kit of many cars on the market today.
The 30X was a small coupe with a V6 engine, utilising 4 miniscule valves per cylinder. The small size of the 30X’s engine meant that it was difficult and thus more expensive to repair, yet the small pistons also meant that the engine ran smoothly, with an impressive level of refinement that did not hinder its output, claiming 99kW of power and 159Nm of torque. To get the best of its power, one needed to push the engine quite hard. It was therefore more suited to a manual gearbox, as the automatic version did not push the engine hard enough.
Standard kit on this model was also good, with central-locking, CD player, fog lights, and a rear spoiler in addition to power windows and sunroof. Handling on all 3 of these cars was precise, and it was coupled with a good level of balance and grip that made them fun to drive.
Although Eunos models are great luxury cars with kit that remains decent even by today’s standards, there are some trouble spots that one should look for when considering such a purchase. Rust can be a particular issue, with front chassis rails being the main culprit.
An obvious rival of the Eunos was Lexus; specifically the ES300 was seen as a rival to the Eunos 800, whereas the LS400 models rivalled the 500. The 30X had rivals in the form of the Nissan NX Coupe and Honda Integra. Lexus was ultimately more successful, as seen by the continued production of its models. Lexus models will therefore ultimately hold more of their value at resale than Eunos, as will comparable Honda models.
However, the Eunos brand has been unfairly maligned. These were great luxury cars with remarkable build quality and finish, with smooth, refined engines and a plethora of safety features. The fact that one may find a Eunos 800 model for a good price illustrates the fact that true bargains can still be found in the used car marketplace.