Bought this car with 274,000 miles on it and it's still running good had to have the transmission replaced soon after purchasing it but it was the original from 1995. GREAT gas mileage, with gas prices at 2.89 I can still only spen $30 and fill it up.
Wife purchased in 1994 4-cylinder LX as a 1995 "Mazda program car" (had 18K miles, now has 107K). Transmission light came on @ 1999 (car was most likely abused prior to purchasing with 18K miles)- we couldn't feel anything different but had it replaced anyway. No transmissions problems since then. Other than regular maintenance like oil/filter changes, the only major services have been a new timing belt and replacement of front drive axle gear (tie rods, links, boot covers...). It has been very reliable in our 15 yrs of ownership. I purchased a new 2000 Protege (loved it for what it was) but traded it in for 2004 MPV (3 kids happened). Want to buy Mazdaspeed3 but 626 keeps going.
Reliable, low cost to own. Have owned Toyota, VW and Mazda vehicles - all were/have been reliable but I tend to prefer Mazda's.
Some rust (quarter-sized) beginning to appear around wheel wells - 15 years in Northeast salted winter roads will do that. Wish mpg was better in my overall driving (avg 22 in winter, 25 in summer) but I do consistently get 33 mpg in pure highway driving (as high as 35 when newer).
I bought this JAPANESE car with 104k miles on it. I got it cheap because the FORD transmission was burned up. I had the trans. rebuilt 3 months after I bought it, for $2000. It has run fine ever since, but the new trans. overheats when driving up and down mountain roads or sitting in heavy traffic for long periods. The fluid will boil and run out of the trans. vent, so I had a hose hooked up which runs up to the top of the engine compartment. This is a chronic problem with these CD4E Ford transmissions. But, the car runs great, has really good acceleration for a 2.0 liter 4 - nothing else important has gone wrong - it now has 145,000 miles on it. I like the car - will keep it til it dies.
Acceleration, looks, mileage
Too late to put better transmissions in this car - some kind of cooling mismatch - ??
Bought this automatic trans LX in 1998 with 60,000 miles on it. Very reliable. Do regular oil changes, preventive maintenance, timing belts and have a wonderful mechanic. Problems with door lock tumblers. Replaced radiator, axle and starter - pretty good for a 14 year old car. No oil leaks. December 2007 at 198,000 miles had to have tranny checked. Code 42 - starting to fail but only intermittently in 1st gear. He said 95 Mazdas had terrible transmissions, but mine the exception. Still running at 224,000 but and 1st gear issues now and then. Love this car. AC worked wonderfully but now freon costs more than car is worth!
Oscillating vent, heat/AC system, driver's seat lumbar support/adjustment, window visibility, handling. Good size trunk.
Rear window and trunk lid design - if it's raining and you open the trunk, water rolls down all over the contents. Since I've owned the car, the doors and locks freeze up constantly in winter - have to use door lock deicer and graphite on the rubber.
I bought this car used from a friend with 92,000 who properly maintained it. Ten years later we're at 312,000 and going strong (we blow some oil through, but, not too much - it runs G R E A T!. I drove it to New Orleans, then Iowa City (from New Jersey) last summer, and averaged 32 mpg w/ a/c on. The 2.0 5 speed is a good combination, very fun to drive.