Before I say anything about reliability, I'll let you know in advance that I just got this car not even a month ago. However, I do know a great deal about these cars, so I will try to be as helpful as possible.
The car has a rough idle and runs rich, but I'm equating that to old fuel since you can smell it.
Has the common HLA tick, but it is very slight. Usually a good engine flush takes care of this, so I'll update you when I accomplish this.
The security system has a mind of its own. Cuts on randomly and drains the battery. I'm just going to pull the relay.
The drivers lock is very reluctant to work. It is very hard to push down and open with the key. I will investigate this more when the weather improves.
The sunroof just recently stopped sliding, but it still tilts.
It may sound like a lot of problems, but unlike a lot of people, I understand that the car is 13 years old, with relatively high mileage.
The 93-2002 generations are not as reliable as the previous 626s, that's a fact. However, if you STAY away from the automatic models, (especially the 4-cylinder with the cd4e tranny), it should be relatively reliable.
I love the styling of this car, and it handles VERY well due to a well-engineered suspension, but the ride will be firmer than an Accord or Camry. I prefer a stiffer ride, so it's alright with me.
I'm only 18, but I have owned an Audi 4000 (really cool car, and durable IF YOU TAKE CARE OF IT) and an Infiniti G20, which was a nice car, but the head gasket went and warped the head.
I've been a car fanatic for as long as I can remember. I set out to look for another Audi, a Peugeot 405, and older Volvo or an Eagle (really more of a Renault) Premier. I bought this one right up when I found it, for 1800.
The V6/stick combo is very rare, though not as rare as finding a Camry SE-V6 with stick (yes it does exist), and the 95-97 Accord V6 didn't even come with stick. I will take a shot in the dark and say that only 5% of the V6s came with stick. Kind of a shame, when you consider that the V6 auto tranny wasn't much better than the one in the 4 cylinder.
My car is black with grey interior, and it is in very good cosmetic shape.
The V6 is surprisingly fast (0-60 in the mid 7s with stick). Even the 4-cylinder, having only 118 hp, is quicker than you would think.
I would recommend this car in 5-speed form to anyone. However, if you want an automatic, I would suggest you keep looking. A quick internet search should confirm this.