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 :)
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