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.

General Comments:

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

24th Jan 2008, 18:50

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.

1987 Mazda 626 LX 2.0L from North America


This is a comfortable, affordable, bargain sedan


When I first received the vehicle, there were several very noticeable things wrong with it. The front end and the left front fender were damaged for example and upon closer inspection, found that they had been rigged together by the owner to appear that they had been fixed. Suspicious? You bet, but I did look up a report on the car on CARFAX.com and found that it had been in two minor accidents. I really needed a car though so I went back to test drive it drove wonderfully... for a week.

By the end of the first month I had...;

- Replaced the motor mounts.

- Replaced the radiator.

- Fixed several oil leaks.

- And replaced the front brake rotors (they were warped).

There are still things that I have not fixed, however..

- The front passenger side window does not work.

- The rear passenger side window works only about half the time.

- The heater core is blown.

- And the rear speakers have never worked.

General Comments:

So what exactly do I think of this car..? Despite what has gone wrong with it that I stated above, the care is really quite good when you get down to it. The problems were most likely why the owners were selling it, but all it really needed was some care, and since the odometer hit 113500, I haven't had a single problem more serious than a dim tail light.

- The interior is very, very clean for a car its age.

- The seats are very comfortable, both front and back.

- The engine is quite at highway speeds and gets good mileage on highways (especially if the car is equipped with an overdrive feature, which is essentially a fifth gear).

- Cruise control works like a dream for long trips.

- The sunroof has never given me any trouble.

However, this is no sports car. You won't win any races in it, but it is a very reliable vehicle when you compare its cost to maintain compared to other vehicles of its class from the late 80's and even the early 90's.

I recommend this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th March, 2004