1996 Mazda 626 LX 6 cylinder from North America


Good car, but didn't go beyond 120000 miles


Transmission seal leak @ 115000. Would cost too much to replace it along with coolant leaks in radiator & water pump & timing belt going bad about the same time.

General Comments:

It drives very well. Handles well. Brakes well. Accelerates well. Nice extras with power seats, moon roof etc.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th March, 2006

1996 Mazda 626 LX from North America


The best car ever


I have owned my '96 Mazda 626 for over a year now, and the only thing that has gone wrong was that my water pump needed to be replaced. Other than that, my car runs great.

General Comments:

I think that the Mazda 626 is a very reliable car. My check engine light is always on and my 02 sensor needs to be replaced, but that causes no long term damage on your car. So to be honest, I'm not that worried about it. I'm sorry everyone on this web site has had so many problems with their 626's. I guess maybe I got lucky. I love my car and think it runs great. This was my first car, so I when I can afford it I'll most likely buy another one, probably a Mazda 6.

I've taken very good care of my car, though. I change all fluids at 3,000 miles and rotate my tires. Maybe some of you should try better maintenance before completely knocking off Mazdas.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th February, 2006

1996 Mazda 626 LX 2.0 from North America


Very unreliable stress causer.


Front axle was replaced at 134,000 miles.

Water pump belt snapped and overheated my car, causing my engine to blow at 145,000 miles.

Radiator started leaking and was replaced.

Tensioner Spring for timing belt broke.

General Comments:

This car could be reliable if it wasn't so unreliable.

This car needs as much attention as a newborn baby.

If one thing goes out on this car, you can plan on replacing a couple other things.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 24th November, 2005

21st Aug 2006, 19:25

With the mileage cited, any car would be experiencing some of the problems mentioned - worn axle, timing belt tensioner, etc. The tensioner should have been replaced when the timing belt was being replaced at the recommended intervals, anyway.

If one pays attention to the "idiot light" that indicates the engine is getting hot AND stops driving as soon as possible after the light turns on, a non-functioning water pump need not be the death knell of an engine.

24th Jan 2007, 22:53

The truth about these cars is that they are unreliable. That is there reputation all around. Whether it be the water pump, alternator, transmission, radiator or any of the other multiple things that are constantly going wrong with this car. The fact of the matter is that this car always has something going wrong with it and it is stressful when you have to constantly fork money into getting it fixed. My 1996 626 is just as unreliable as this one and it only has eighty thousand miles on it. So defending the car in general is not going to help it's horrible reputation. This is just one of the plenty reviews on the car that is warning people of the costly danger of purchasing this car in hope that it is reliable.

1996 Mazda 626 ES 2.5L V6 from North America


Poor reliability, great performance, good MPG


Transmission failure at 109,000 miles.

Neutral safety switch.

Front strut broke.

Water pump.


Tape player.

Parking lights/ instrument panel switch.

One window does not come up all the way up.

Headlights have moisture in them.

General Comments:

As noted in other responses, the 626 model suffers from serious tranny issues. Mine suffered a failure when I got it. Turns out it is a widespread failure and a replacement tranny is hard to find at junk yards, because they are all blown.

There is an overheating issue which damages the tranny fluid which causes the tranny to fail. I think these cars have Ford trannies in them. This affects both 4 cylinder and V6 models.

I installed Hayden 404 cooler, which is supposed to be the greatest for 626 and thus far put about 15K miles with no problems. Will be interesting to see how long it lasts. When the second tranny failes, I am not going to fix it. Nor am going to put any serious money in it for any reason.

It's clear that if you want a 626, a 5-speed is the way to go. With V6, it's nice.

I also had other random annoying issues, but all in all, it is a nice performing vehicle. For a V6, the mileage is very impressive, I get 29mpg on highway only on cruise. 2.5L engine is nice, aside from oil leaking into the spark plug area. It's the nicest performing vehicle I've ever had, and handling is superb too.

One serious downside, the engine bay is kind of tight. Timing belts took me 6 hours to do. Though I am sure a Mazda mechanic can do it in 2 or less. But the engine bay design is poor: The fuel filter replacement is a big job for example. Took me 1 hour to do.

The previous car I had was a Chevy Caprice and in terms of reliability and quality, it was way higher. It had much higher mileage without all these issues.

I really could not believe when I broke a strut in this Mazda when hitting a minor pothole. I didn't know this was possible.

I would buy only a 5-speed one, with low miles and if it has been well-maintained - for a good price. They don't hold their resale value at all - for a reason. I also hear that 4-cyl. with manual get awesome MPG, something like 40mpg.

Also, the Factory Service Manual is a good investment with this car, you'll need it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 13th September, 2005