1996 Mazda 626 LX 2.5/V6 from North America
Solid, reliable, but overpowered, this car has been very good to me
6 months after I bought it, the check engine light would come on periodically. After a few stops at the dealer with no discrepencies found, it went away and has never come back. Wrote it off to engine break-in.
12 months after I bought the car I had to replace the tires (~5000 miles). It came with the sporty low-profile high performance Michelin's. I got them to pay half the replacement cost, but when the new ones wore out 12 months later I gave up on that tire. Unfortunately, the higher mileage tires don't have the grip needed to contain this car's power. It's real easy to spin the tires starting up especially when the road is wet. Otherwise handling has been great and I've only had to replace the tires every 30k.
I got rear-ended around 50k and while they rebuilt the bumper and body panels two residual problems have recently surfaced. The trunk gasket had not been sealing well so I've pulled all the upholstery out of the trunk and replaced it. Also, one of the muffler welds was fatigued and rusted through and I needed to replace it.
Only other thing, oil sensing unit blew around 70k miles. Cost me $1.73, an early oil change and 2 hours under the hood.
This car has been a dream overall. Fast, peppy, comfortable, stylish. I love the huge trunk. Does not perform well in snow due to overpowered drive system. I'm going to put snow tires on it this year to see if it helps. Then maybe performance tires again in the spring, now that I can afford them.
This car has had a number of recalls over the years, make sure you are up to date. I think they want to check the springs now.
I wish I was surprised by the bulk of the comments posted here. Ford does not have a good track record when it comes to transmissions. This car was a combined effort between Mazda and Ford and the result is obvious. I specifically selected the model I did because although the car was assembled in the U.S., V6 engines and manual transmissions were manufactured in Japan. The automatics and 4 cylinders were products of the Ford factories.
I hope this trend has stopped and look forward to reviewing it when I buy my next car, but that will be some years still in the future.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 17th September, 2003