1987 Mazda 626 (base model) 2.0 4 cylinder FI from North America
Incredibly dependable, long-lived car with some rust issues
Clutch, 170,000 miles.
Mufflers and exhaust systems tend to rust out often, once every two years in midwest US.
Water pump, finally leaked at 220,000.
Rear struts replaced at 130,000 miles and at 190,000. Front struts started to feel bouncy around 255,000 after car sat for a while.
Rear strut towers are the Achilles' Heel of the body. Don't buy an older 626 unless you've inspected these areas thoroughly. They can rust out pretty badly, even so that the whole tower tears loose.
This is the best car I owned, and I would be driving it now if the rust hadn't pretty much ruined the rear strut towers.
At 250,000 miles, it still made a round trip from Minnesota to South Texas without problems. Always used 1/2 a quart of oil in 3000 miles, never more and never less.
Had a very smooth, precise 5-speed manual shift.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 2nd March, 2005
I have owned 5 626's, 1983 through 1987 (2 new) and have become quite adept at fixing them. The rear strut towers fail from rusting because they have a horizontal seam in the wheel-well that is caulked from the factory. Eventually the caulk loosens and water/salt do their thing to start rusting the seam apart. Using sheet metal I fabricated a patch panel which I attached with many 1/4-20 nuts and bolts instead of welding. On the '87 which I still drive (158,000) it has held up very well. I am now replacing the in-tank fuel pump ($133.) This will be my last '83-'87 as you just cannot find any that have survived the rust issues here in New England. All in all they were above average cars and I enjoyed each one.