1999 Mazda 626 LX 4.0 from North America


Good deal at purchase, but costly to maintain


I had to get a new water pump when my car had less than 30000 miles.

I've had to get new front brakes three times since I have owned the car.

I had to get a new transmission at 61000 miles. One day I got in my car on it wouldn't move when I put it in drive. I would move in second gear and reverse, but that was it. I was livid since I had just got it back after the expensive 60k maintenance package.

I am geting a new radiator today with 85000 miles.

The power antenna has been replaced two times since I have owned my car.

The CD player stopped working after two years.

General Comments:

I am really disappointed with the parts on this car. I have been very good about taking it to my Mazda dealer for every oil change and all maintenance; including the very expensive 15k, 30k, 45k and 60k maintenance that Mazda recommends.

I do have to say, that my dealer (the one I bought it at and have service it) stood behind me when the transmission failed. When I received the call about the $2300 to replace the transmission, I went through the roof and told them it was simply unacceptable and demanded to talk to someone within Mazda. None-the-less, Mazda paid for the transmission and I paid for the labor. I was not going to stop complaining until they listened, and thanks to my dealer I did not have to complain for long!

Today, I took it in for an early 90k maintenance and received a call about an hour ago that I needed a new radiator. No lights were on, no other "warning" signs were present, but now I get to pay approx. 480 dollars for a new radiator.

Now I know why the 626 was discontinued! It is labeled a Mazda product, but it is built with cheap Ford parts.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th August, 2003

1999 Mazda 626 GLX 2.0i 92kw from Zimbabwe


Reliable, comfortable and economical


Air-con union loosened at 15,000km, allowing refrigerant to leak. This was attended to under warranty.

Mazda spares are very expensive.

General Comments:

Comfortable (but seats are a bit on the hard side), performs exceptionally well, smooth auto transmission, and unbelievably economical - I can achieve 15-16km/l without being too careful. Zimbabwean dealers though, leave a lot to be desired...

It seems the Japanese 626/Capella we get is hugely better than the American model with its troublesome Ford-derived auto-box.

My previous (Jap) 626 a/t wagon has given me 130,000km pleasurable, trouble-free motoring.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th July, 2003

1999 Mazda 626 GLX 2.0 4 cylinder petrol 92kw from Zimbabwe


Good value for money, comfortable, strong performer, with excellent fuel economy


At around 25 000km the aircon packed up, but was replaced under warranty.

The door rubber on the driver's side has worn out, well within the warranty period, but the dealer refused to replace it.

The driver's side central locking solenoid started to exhibit an intermittent fault; this was reported to the dealership several times, but eventually I replaced it myself after the warranty expired (wty was 60 000km).

Most recently, the engine starts to misfire when hot at low revs, when it is approaching a service, but still has some way to go (service interval is 10000km, but starts to misfire at around 6500km). Dealer blames poor spark plugs, as they claim to be unable to obtain quality ones.

General Comments:

When I had the opportunity to buy the "new 626" as it was then, I was a little apprehensive, since my previous model was not exceptional, and with an 1800cc engine was exceptionally heavy on fuel. The new model gives me around 12-13 km/l if I don't go over 120, and even more if I keep it below 100, but what is most surprising is that it gives me between 11 and 12 km/l in town driving!

I compared the 626 against a 3 year old C180, which was really well looked after, but I chose the Mazda because I honestly thought it was a better buy, since their prices were virtually the same. The shortage of space in the rear of the Mercedes was concern for me, though I understand they have resolved this issue now, and in keeping with the previous Mercedes that I owned a few years previously (a 1972 220D), I wondered why Mercedes at that time had still not managed to get the glove compartment door to fit snugly!

The new model 626 has impressed me so much that I certainly would not hesitate to buy another. It is and exceptional car, with surprisingly rapid acceleration, given its power/torque rating, it handles very well at high and low speeds, and the only change I made to the standard spec was to put Bridgestone Europas (195/60) on in place of the Dunlops (185/60) it came with, but this was more of a personal preference when the replacement became necessary at around 45 000km rather than because the car really needed them.

I am taking delivery of a V5 Jetta this week, but only because it offers more gadgets and more power, and because the opportunity to get a V5 doesn't come up often. The dealer through whom I bought the Jetta is also a Mazda dealer, and there was a 1.9TDI standing next to a new 626 in their showroom, and to be honest it was a close call. The 626 is more of a lounge than the Jetta, and I'm sure it will tell on a long journey, but that's the sacrifice I've had to make.

Build quality much better than previous Mazda models, though not quite up to VW standard, and even after 4 years the upholstery, which has been looked after, but has never been protected looks almost as good as new. No trace of any rust yet either. Knocks spots off the build quality of the Nissan Sentra which my wife drives, and which is only 1.5 years old.

Congratulations to Mazda for reinventing their version of the car - I have recommended it too many of my peers, even against the Hyundai Sonata - with everything - that I owned for a short period and loved dearly!

I hope the new Mazda6 is as good.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th January, 2003

24th Feb 2005, 15:50

Found you article helpful... drive the older model 626 2.0glx and love it... thinking of upgrading soon... your comments were helpful as I think Mazda have brought the quality to this generation as well! good stuff... I also wonder if the newer Mazda 6 is as good as the older models.

4th Oct 2011, 09:47

I sold my 626 in early 2006, and it is still being used by the company which bought it from me. It has not been well looked after, but it is still going strong.

I have since the review bought a 2003 Mazda Familia 1.6 (new), which has now done 86000km, and a Mazda3 2 litre, which I bought new and is now 2 years old and has done under 10000km, and I would not hesitate to buy another Mazda.

The improvement from the Familia to the 3 is remarkable, yet I still enjoy using the Familia, on which I have just today replaced the windscreen. Both of my newer Mazdas are comfortable and reliable, and very economical.

I also happen to own a 2005 Jeep 2.8CRD Renegade, which has done 140000km (bought new) and is likely to be in the shop for the next 4 weeks due to a cracked oil cooler, just one of many problems I have experienced. I am looking to buy another Mazda - perhaps CX7 or CX9 to replace my Jeep - not as capable off-road, but then I have only been offroad once since 2005!

I sold the Nissan Sentra in 2003, and the buyer has had a few problems with it since, yet it has to date only done about 50000km.

Keep going with Mazda - I have yet to be disappointed.