1996 Mazda 626 LX 2.0L 4 cylinder from North America


A very dependable car, but only because I was fortunate enough to buy it with the manual gearbox


1. Had to replace spark plug wires at 99,000 miles. Symptom was intermittent hard starting, especially after the car was warm after running for 30 minutes or so. Never a hard start in damp/cold weather, surprisingly.

2. Just finished replacing strut mounts, strut bearings, battery and calipers at 109,000 miles. (One caliper began locking after the car had been sitting for almost 2 years; replaced both, since the pair was only $79 loaded.)

3. The "Check Engine" light turns on occasionally, maybe once a year or so, without setting a code, but goes away after being reset.

4. Shifter bushing (manual trans) is worn, occasionally causes problems putting it in gear.

5. Front left speaker was intermittent for awhile, but not working at all now - have to hunt down the cause one of these days :)

General Comments:

The car is very comfortable and easy to drive. It gives a smooth ride at all speeds, up to highway legal (and above), never complaining. Steering is very forgiving.

Non original equipment tires don't provide adequate traction, especially on wet or snowy roads. The 2.0L 4-cyl. engine doesn't have THAT much power, but it's difficult to keep the wheels from spinning on anything other than completely dry pavement.

Maintenance costs are very reasonable, since I do 95% the work myself. Even at 10 years old, the car needs less than $200/year in repairs, excluding regular scheduled maintenance (oil changes, etc.). This is much less than payments for a new car would be, so I'll keep driving it 'til it begins to nickel and dime me.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st August, 2006

1996 Mazda 626 LX 2.0 from North America


Faulty transmission!


TRANSMISSION more than once!


All belts.

IAC valve.

MAF sensor.

Have to replace brakes once a year.

Alignment terrible.

General Comments:

The transmission fails approximately every 37k miles. The majority of 4 cylinder 626s suffer from this problem. Mazda denies all knowledge and responsibility for using faulty parts.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 12th June, 2006

1996 Mazda 626 EX 2.5L V6 from North America


Dependable sport sedan


Replaced radiator,$100.

Alternator twice,$1,000.

Rear brake calipers & pads $300.

Both CV joints,$300.

Tie Rod & rear links,$250.

Water pump & belts,$500.

Oxygen senser,$20.

Exhaust System,$350.

Rotors & pads,$150.


Heater hose & crankshaft sensor,$125.


General Comments:

Very reliable. Sporty ride for a sedan.

Uses a quart of oil every 3,000 miles.

The high cost of parts and labor (mazda dealer) is the only drawback.

I paid $3400 for it 4 years ago and dropped another $3,000 in it over that time.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th March, 2006

1996 Mazda 626 DX 2.0 from North America


With Manual tranny, a high mileage warrior; with auto, a problem on 4 wheels


Burning some oil during start up in very cold weather (-10 to 20 F) past 100000mi.

Control Arm bushings worn and cause wander of the car 100000mi.

Noise from some plastics in the dashboard and glove box when weather is cold. 100000mi.

Clutch went out 110000mi.

Valve stem seals 115000mi.

General Comments:

I bought this car to be my warrior during my university life. Picked it up at a local dealer. Fortunately it was manual tranny.. Changed fluids, filters, sparkplugs, distributor rotor, brake pads rear brake pistons and the car ran good for about 2k miles. After that clutch needed to be replaced, replaced it my self for $100 with the entire Exeedy clutch kit. Not too hard if you have a reapir-manual handy, took about two days.

Then the oil burning problem was getting worse, thanks to some advice I realized it was not oil being burned through the piston rings, but because faulty oil seal at the valve stems. So decided to replace timing belt, head gasket, and most engine gaskets and o-rings and valve stem seals. Did it myself purchasing a rebuilt head and a gasket-timing kit, total $400. One of the valves had too much carbon deposit so that is why I bought the entire head. Note that in the FS engine, the sleeves are made of very hard alloy and in my engine the honing marks were still visible, proof of good quality I guess.

After this repairs the car has been great, the power was completely restored and no more oil burning. The engine starts right up in cold or hot weather. Everything works fine and is a completely reliable car. The problem now was a little wandering of the car past 60 mph (I am picky about handling) so decided to change both control arms ($140) which include bushings and ball joints. After that the car is perfect. Considering I only paid 2300 for the car itself, some $800 is very reasonable for reconditioning. I plan to drive this car till it dies, probably it is going to be long time, I've seen these engines gone up to 250000mi. I've made trips kansas-louisiana and back several times, and have done lots of travel. The car is compeltely reliable and hasn't failied me once, all repairs I did were preventive. And after that I am sure the engine can be rebuilt and work very good again. There is no rust anywhere, and all trims and upholstery hold up very well, the only complaint is that the cloth in the doors gets too dirty too quickly. Now I am planning on buying a Mazda 6 s (manual of course), but keeping my 626 for the daily driving. On top of that the 626 handles very well and feels like a smaller car, it is predictable and fun to drive. Also after all repairs I get about 30 mpg on highway and about 23mpg city

I can recommend this car with either the V6 or L4 engine, but with manual transmission. I wouldn't recommend to anybody the same car with auto tranny. So please walk away when somebody tries to sell you one. But hey, those cars are great and cheap for parts anyway.. so there is a good side to it.

Also if you plan on modifyfing springs or anything else in the suspension make sure you get something that is good quality and "stock-replacement". I put coilovers in my car and even though the handling is go-kart-like it is just too rigid for daily driving. There are poly-U bushings out there, but they are hard to replace on the existing base and not cheap, so probably the best option is to buy the entire new control arms.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th March, 2006