1989 Mazda 626 DX 2.2L In-line 4 from North America


A peppy and practical car


Right now the alignment is off quite a bit, the right front tire is showing wear marks on the outside.

Sometimes the car has a tendency to burn oil, it's an off-and-on thing.

Starting to rust a bit around the trunk and underside.

Trunk leaked, I think I fixed it by taking off the weatherstrip, putting some silicone in it, and replacing it.

Another danger from this is that the mounting points for the rear shocks can rust out, if you get a trunk leak, fix it quick, I just caught it in time.

The white reverse lights went out, some kind of wiring problem.

Alternator belt popped.

LCD screen on factory radio went bad.

Left the car sit for about a year, the e-brake locked up, couldn't get it to budge, drove around the block with the rear wheels locked.

Transmission has about had it, I think its me.

Speedometer is 5mph high at around 70, 3mph at around 40, not sure if it was always this way.

Getting a noise that sounds like valve tappet's, but I'm not a mechanic. Not sure what it is.

General Comments:

An '89 626 doesn't look like much, but I have really been impressed with the car. It has been a great first car to me.

The car has a lot of room for cargo, some people say there isn't much room, but I am 5'9" and it feels roomy enough for me. The rear seats fold forward to add space to an already large trunk. The front seats fold back to be even with the rear seats when you take off the head rests. This makes the back right seat a nice recliner, procedure on how to do this in the manual.

The handling is good for its class, tends to spin the tires a bit on turns and fast starts. Gives a good feel for the road, though the brakes need to be replaced about every 30-40K miles.

The engine is powerful for the class of car, but the transmission doesn't always deliver that power well. That may be due to my driving though, sometimes I press it hard. The Hold button on the stick makes the tranny feel more like a manual, you can downshift and control when it up-shifts better. The timing of the shifts is slightly odd, and the switch to second can be a little rough.

The car can accelerate off the line, and it also can get up to a pretty good speed. I have taken the car up to 120mph, it was shaking pretty bad then. Could have gotten it higher if the alignment and balance weren't so off.

If you like to drift a lot when driving, you can do it fairly easily in this car.

And for those of you who aren't of college age, this car runs great at legal speeds. The pedal seems to have a sweet spot at 40mph, the car loves that speed. I take it out at night and cruise at 40 for a few hours.

Gas mileage is about 25mpg, both city and highway for mine. The Power-Economy button doesn't seem to do much. Just a frill.

Cruise control works great.

This car seemed to only come out in one color, the only ones I've seen around town of the same year are all tan, most with maroon interiors, some with light blue.

The stock stereo is no good, the speakers blew, so I put in an Alpine head unit, and replaced the speakers with Infinitys. Sounds real good now, though I would have liked them to put the front speakers in the door instead of under the dash. They are only 4" and the highs are shot down to your feet, so you don't get highs or lows from the front, it has to come from the back.

Love the car, worth a lot more than blue book to me. It's no sports car, but its simple "family car" looks are deceiving. Great first car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th October, 2003

24th Sep 2004, 23:43

The 89 I have, has a tan interior, just like the outside...

1989 Mazda 626 from North America


Best car I ever owned!!


These are all approximate miles as sometimes the mileage was recorded during the repair and sometimes not.

New battery at 100K miles.

New alternator at 150K miles.

New starter at 175K miles.

New CV boots, and front axles around 200K miles.

New radiator (she busted in the rain in bumper-to-bumper traffic) and a modulator (which may have caused the fan to quit working which caused the radiator to overheat & bust!) at 250K miles. Radiator ~$300 and modulator from a junkyard for $15.

Began drinking 1-2 quarts of oil between oil changes and escalated over the past year to 1 quart a day from around 200K miles.

These are things I view as major repairs.

At around 270K miles the blower fan began shooting small bits of insulation into the car through the vents and defrost, heat & air conditioning air was minimal. But with quick access of the fan from under the passenger side dashboard and removal of all the old yellowing insulation, it blows as good as the day it was new.

General Comments:

Since I bought this car as a salvaged vehicle (total loss by an insurance company) I questioned the 36K miles originally on the odometer. However, I can fully vouch for the remaining 236K that I have faithfully driven (highway, long commutes, long vacation trips) and in town stop & go.

Besides regular maintenance (oil changes, tune-ups, tire rotations, etc.) I feel I barely had to "put up" with any sort of inconvenience.

It is a 5-speed and I have NEVER replaced the clutch. She still shifts soft & easy so the transmission is probably good for another 272K miles.

I will complain (bitterly) about the reception of the radio (stock)! I can usually only pick up a station here & there and never for long. I don't remember when the scan button quit working so if you want to surf stations you have to use the tune button. But at least it came with a cassette player (state of the art in '89 I am sure!) and I have some consolation.

It is a smaller mid-size car, but accommodates about 5 people comfortably as long as they are not all adults in the back seat. Plenty of leg & head room, but I am 5'6".

The drivers side seat (all cloth interior) has only just begun to tear along a seam in the last few months.

Some sun fading is experienced in the back seat at the top of the seats.

There is not much fading to the paint, the carpet is still intact and the dash has no cracks.

I wish I had a console in the center to keep from loading up the glove box, but oh well.

I hate to give her up, but as it turns 272K she is burning a quart of oil a day and I know it's not going to last much longer. With an initial investment of $2350.00 US dollars, and a totaled maintenance record of $3500.00 US dollars over 6 years of ownership (not counting insurance, gas, & tires) this is by far the BEST car I ever owned!!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th September, 2003