I purchased my 1999 Mazda 626 LX V-6 new in June 1999 and have been relatively satisfied with it. I only have approximately 18,000 miles on it and typically use it for short trips around town. I am impressed with the performance of the V-6 engine, the styling of the car and so far, it's reliability. In my first three years of ownership I did not have to return the vehicle to the dealer for any warranty repairs.
I have experienced a few minor problems which, from what I have read, are typical regarding this vehicle. I have experienced problems with the automatic transmission sticking in first gear and then harshly jumping into second gear. This will usually occur in extreme cold weather. I have found that the transmission performs better if you first allow the vehicle to warm up or if you start out in second gear until the transmission warms.
I also had one occurrence of the engine trouble light activating, which I believe was related to the transmission issue.
I was able to reset the trouble light by disconnecting the battery for a short time. The only problem with doing this is that it resets the computer and the engine will run rough for up to a few days until the computer is able to adjust properly.
I have also had to replace the power antenna mast and recently had to add radiator sealant for a pinhole leak at the top of the radiator.
I strongly recommend upgrading the standard headlight bulbs to Sylvania Bright Star Halogen 9003ST. When I did this I noticed a significant difference in light output and greater night time visibility.
I know my vehicle has particularly low mileage for a 1999 model year and I'm hoping I don't experience any of the expensive transmission failures I've heard about.
It is so far the most reliable vehicle I have ever owned.