I went to a dealer to look at a 2004 Mazda 6. I left with a very late 2001 registered 626. I must be mad you may think? Well I think not the car cost me less than a third the price of the 6.
Don't get me wrong the 626 shows it's age when compared to the 6 in comfort and refinement however it is still a very good car. One bonus of buying a car at the end of it's production life is most of the bugs have been ironed out. The 6 would have been the opposite.
The engine is smooth enough all be it not that powerful. It is adequate and works OK with the auto box. Fuel economy is good and reliability is faultless. Cabin has everything I need and is well laid out. The brakes are amazing and the traction control is very comforting.
It is a bit dull to look at, but that isn't really what I bought it for. The cabin is spacious and the boot is huge.
The car spends more time on the road due to it's 9000 mile interim service and 18000 full. Cam belt is done at 50k and wasn't expensive. Spark plugs were a little pricey however it has only ever needed one set.
The auto box is another matter. It is the Ford CD4E in disguise which has a diabolical reputation. With no clear service schedule I took it to an engineering company for a check over. They advise changing ATF every 20k and putting the car in park during long traffic queues. Most of the problems are due too bad fluid and overheating.
Great car that should last for ages. Last of the true large Mazda's.