2000 Mazda 626 ES 2.5 V6 from North America

Summary:

Mazda's Miata bloodlines are quite apparent in the 626 ES V6

Faults:

Normal wear and tear issues:

- Replaced timing belt, tensioner and pump (tensioner failed catastrophically at 122,000; suspected that timing belt had not been changed since new - $620).

- Replaced worn/destroyed front axle assemblies at 126,500 - $420.

- Purchased at 110,000 with recent, scheduled clutch replacement.

- Exhaust system replaced with OEM at 115,000, after failing due to normal wear and tear stress - $90 (performed in our home garage using a saws-all sparingly).

- Some issues during violent (we're talking literally typhoon-force) rainstorms with ignition coil, resulting in moderate to heavy misfires. But it is unlikely to encounter this type of storm more than once a year, if at all... Pennsylvania and New Jersey have some strange weather patterns.

General Comments:

The 2000 Mazda 626 is a fairly popular vehicle on the roads today in the United States. Today, these cars can be had for less than $5,500. I know this because my, almost fully-loaded ES V6 model cost this with 110,000 miles on the clock from a private used dealer.

From day 1, the car was solid, the 170-horsepower 2.5-liter V6 engine offers great performance in this category, especially when mated to the decent(but not great) 5-speed manual gearbox. Shifts are smooth enough, but the shifter leaves much to be desired.

The car is front-wheel-drive, which of course limits cornering performance. Understeer is very apparent when pushing this admittedly large, but light family sedan hard. However, with the Yokohama tires on my example, the 626 is not flummoxed by even moderate snow (3 in) or rain.

Speaking of suspension, this car offers a sophisticated system keeping in with Mazda's sports car mantra. This results in decent handling capabilities, but body-roll and understeer are still prevalent on this 11-year-old car. Mind you, when compared to the newer model, the 626 does fall short of expectations.

Inside, the ES V6 is appointed with full-leather seats, a Bose CD and cassette player that sounds okay, despite the Bose name. There is a manual A/C unit, heated mirrors, and an electric sliding sunroof. Luxury isn't offered in bounds here, but then again, Mazda isn't a luxury marque. The seating position is somewhat up-right, but is still comfortable, even for long hauls. My example did not have the electronic ABS system, which was a $990 optional extra.

Outside, the 626 is fairly nondescript. Styling is subdued, and though not pretty, the 626 isn't ugly or strange. The ES V6 rides on 16 inch alloy wheels with disc brakes all the way around. Braking is very good and the brake pedal offers a good feel, but after a short time of hard driving in the hills, fade is very noticeable. Again, my example did not have the electronic ABS system, but braking is still quite good, even in inclement weather.

In short, this car is a great vehicle for the budge-minded buyer or first-time driver who actually likes driving; the 626 ES V6 offers comfort, light speed, and reliability with care. And perhaps best of all, it isn't a Toyota.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th July, 2011

2000 Mazda 626 LX 2.5L from North America

Summary:

Unreliable and expensive

Faults:

Engine light constantly on, even with no issues found.

Outer left CV boot joint deteriorated, as well as outer left tie rod end.

Catalytic converter failed.

Push rods in servo popped out of transmission. Replaced them. Happened again not even 1000km after first replacement. Replaced them again. Car no longer reverses; not the shifter or linkage arm either. Transmission issues, guaranteed.

General Comments:

Bought a 2000 626LX with 137k km on it. No issues at all when test driving, inspection came back clean and the price was right, so I bought it. 4 months and not even 5000km later, the push rods in the servo pop out of the transmission while accelerating on a green light. Perhaps the cold weather effected it, since the winters here are bitter cold.

Driving home on Christmas Eve, a 350km drive, no issues at all until 300 clicks. Driving on the highway at a constant speed/RPM and the servo pops again. Take it to my mother's mechanic, who happens to be the head instructor at the trade school. Fixed the tranny issues, but found the faulty CV boot and ball joint and saw the brakes were beginning to deteriorate, even though they had been replaced earlier that year and the car had not been driven much.

The check engine light has constantly been on, even when the scans picked up no problems whatsoever. The catalytic converter wore out. Brakes replaced again last January. Left outer tie rod had to be replaced a month ago, possibly stemming from the outer left CV joint issue prior?

As of a few days ago, my 626 no longer goes in reverse. It goes in all gears but reverse. Reverse acts like neutral. I've gone over the possibility that it could be the shifter/linkage arm, but that's not the case and my mechanic could find no signs of that. He kept it simple in stating it's the transmission. Now it'll be going to a tranny specialist to see if anything can be done without having to replace/rebuild it completely, but all signs point to a dead transmission.

Thank you, Mazda, for manufacturing this piece of junk. 155,000km on a vehicle that should work superbly is plagued with defects. Repairs have cost me $2500 or more, which doesn't include the work to be done now. If the issue is so severe that it runs me over $500 to fix, this car will be getting acquainted with the scrapyard. Zoom-zoom indeed.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 2nd August, 2010

4th Jan 2011, 00:00

Seems to me your tranny has issues with its pressure/pressure release valve.

30th Jun 2011, 13:20

I have a 2000 Mazda 626 LX manual with 315,000km and never had a single problem. I beat the $h*%& out of it quite often, and I'm still running with the original clutch, engine and transmission. The engine light does get on and off, it's a little annoying, but as long as there's no apparent problem, it's OK with me. It doesn't take oil at all and it lasts a long time, I don't get how yours could be so unreliable if it's the same year/model.

The previous owner of your car must have neglected the car, and didn't pay attention.