I've been fortunate enough not to have the various problems listed by other owners on this site. Any car (even the allegedly bulletproof Camrys and Accords) can have issues. My 626 is reliable, handles well, and has been a good car for the money. I would seriously consider another Mazda product in the future. It has all of the features of the competition for less. Plus, you don't see one at every stop light (such as the aforementioned Camrys and Accords). I can't vouch for everyone that left the plant, but mine has been great.
The styling, handling, and the unique design features (swing A/C fans).
The newer 6 seems to have improved on the weaknesses of this design such as low horsepower for the class engines and more sedate design cues. The new 6 is more aggressive looking and more powerful.