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.
Vehicle is 2.0 4cyl auto hatchback with 150,000 km. Purchased from 2 owner who was somewhat fanatical with maintenance. Inside and out car is like new even after 15 years. Have changed radio cassette to CD player, put a set of Eunos alloys with decent rubber on and added a pod filter to improve air flow for motor. Performance is quite good for 2.0 liter auto but looking to improve it with new sports exhaust including new cat. Will also upgrade the suspension. No problems in auto from fully imported Japanese models. Ultra reliable as long as scheduled maintenance performed on time.
Looks great, handles well, easy to drive, fuel consumption could be better - 11 liters per 100 km.
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 car new in 1996 (left over from previous year). Despite other opinions I love the way it looks and I consider it basically trouble free. Friends with Hondas and Toyotas envy me for the little trouble I had with it. Reached 145k miles and never got me stuck on the road. The only main problems I had were the oxygen sensor (changed it 3 times). I lately read Mazda 626 is known for faulty oxygen sensors. Changed timing belt twice as the book recommends. I think it was a really great car for the money, but now the catalytic converter needs some $800 repair job. I would buy Mazda again, but hate the looks of the new Mazda 6: too bulky. Will consider buying a 2007 Acura TL.
Decent power and mileage for a 4-cyl for a car from that age and great cornering capabilities. Love to drive it on twisted roads.
Windshield defogging should be better. It does not work well in humid weather unless you also use the air conditioning.