If it had a decent transmission this would be one hot car. The styling on mine is beautiful, it's black with some sporty molding and the nice wheel option, leather, and it looks beautiful. It's comfortable and has good acceleration. The gas mileage is reasonable for a mid-size car, and it's very roomy. I just wish I could trust it.
Maybe I'm prejudiced against american cars, but I've owned a Mitsubishi / Dodge Raider and a Toyota Corolla before. The Toyota was the best car in the world, but unfortunately I wrecked it. From now on, I'm sticking with Toyota, Subaru, or Honda. Period. Mazda is not necessarily the quality you would expect from a Japanese car, in fact the 626 is not Japanese at all. (Yes, I realize my old Corolla was made in partnership with GM, but it was so well built... and GM is fairly reliable anyway.) Forget the reputation that Mazda has for their other well-built vehicles; the 626 is a re-labeled Ford, not a Mazda. I don't plan on it lasting any longer than any other Ford would.
Such beautiful leather and options, a beautiful sunroof... it's such a pretty car and so comfortable. So why leave such a horribly critical show-stopper screwing up all the other beauty? If they would fix the transmissions, this would be one hell of a car. But since the transmissions go out so badly, forget it and buy something else that will last longer without major repairs of that nature.