1998 Mazda 626 Classic Wagon 1.9 from Nigeria


Trust the manual trans, good family car, large trunk, great gas mileage


Bad rear suspension, driver's chair height-adjuster stuck. Others are cosmetic issues.

Smoking engine... but after a 1500 km round trip the smoking stopped.

General Comments:

Got this beautiful 626 classic wagon after extensive research. Sure, the 626 is not the best in its class, however it seems to be the only good choice I have considering its price tag.

Generally, the features are generous; ABS, TCS, 4 air bags (2 front and 2 side curtains), fog lights, adjustable rear seat - to create more luggage room, and the ride is high. The acceleration is good, but I noticed it's quite lazy with the A/C on.

The smoking engine is a generic problem with this model. I changed the valve seal, but it smoked even more. But the technician assured me that it only needed a long distance trip before the smoking would stop. So I made a 1500km with 5 adults, a baby, and luggage packed up to the roof.

The car performed excellently. It made a top speed of 180kph. I spent less on fuel. I think the car did about 32 MPG.

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

Review Date: 8th June, 2012

29th Jun 2012, 10:41


So far I've covered more km, and I'm beginning to fall in love with Mazda.

The car is definitely stable with ABS and TRACTION CONTROL SYSTEM well in place. If you need to stop - JUST STEP ON THE BRAKE - IT'LL STOP, NO MATTER THE TERRAIN. The feedback is very good.

I was rear-ended a week ago in a hold up (speed below 30 kph) by a Toyota, which drove away with just a cracked head light while I had broken bumper and twisted rear chassis; the damage was substantial. I was shocked to discover that no REINFORCEMENT was installed in the bumper (just the plastic covering only). It was fixed with the equivalent of 100 USD to mend (bodywork and paint). I'll need to get bumper reinforcement for this car somehow.

The engine still runs seamlessly, and fuel economy is A+ - extremely good. The A/C was fixed and works OK. Couldn't get the rear brake pad for the car here in ILORIN - need to order from LAGOS.


8th Apr 2017, 17:27

Update on my 1998 Mazda 626 classic Wagon.

Odometer: 194 990km (5 years of ownership).

What had gone wrong?

Routine maintenance stuff:

Tires, brake pads, A/C needs gas (January 2017).

Others: drive shafts, lower arms, linkages, rear stabilizer broke... (roads are generally bad, I expected it). In spite of all the problems, it never left me stranded, not even once.

The only major challenge that showed up was an intermittent loss of power. The car stalls whenever acceleration goes beyond 1500 RPM or when it reaches operating temp. I am a DIY person, I went online for help, none of the suggestions worked. And no one could diagnose what the problem was.

I changed fuel pumps, pump relay, spark plugs, etc. Nothing worked. What finally solved the problem was very simple.

I installed an FPR (Fuel Pressure Regulator), a high pressure fuel pump, and a crankshaft position sensor, all from local salvage market. And it did the magic. I couldn't tell what actually went wrong, I just know I changed them all as a last resort and it resolved the stalling problem.

I hope to drive it for another 5 years.

1998 Mazda 626 ES 3.2 V6 from North America


The 1998 626 ES V6 is an absolute GEM!


Antifreeze/coolant reservoir replaced (68,000 miles).

Repaired oil leak (68,000 miles).

Replaced brakes (50,000 miles).

Replaced alternator (48,000 miles).

Replaced timing belt (48,000 miles).

General Comments:

It seems there is a huge disparity between the the ES and the LX in terms of reliability and repair history. This ES has been a pleasure to drive.

Even all these years later, the 626 ES handles beautifully, with fast, smooth response.

The extra cylinders make pickup and merging into highway traffic a dream. This is the peppiest car going.

Leather interior still looks great and seats are comfortable. Even though car cabin design has changed tremendously over the years, this model holds its own against the bells and whistles.

Bose sound system is like the day it was delivered and yields superior sound.

All in all, this car has been a pleasure to drive - I wouldn't still own it if it wasn't!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th January, 2010