1997 Mazda 626 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Attractive styling, rear seat leg/foot room, sweet V-6 engine
  • Underpowered four-cylinder engine, tacked-on chrome grille
List Price Estimate
$540 - $1,321

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

Mazda has been bleeding red ink for many years now, mostly due to home market sales woes. However, the company hasn't been igniting sales charts in the U.S. in recent years either, and we have a hard time understanding why. Mazda builds some of the most innovative, unique and fun-to-drive cars money can buy, yet they sit on showroom floors unsold.

Take the 626, for example. In size and price, it competes with a wide range of cars in the U.S. market, but offers more solid engineering and sporting performance than most. It looks good but somewhat bland, with flowing organic lines and an interesting dash layout. The 626, built in Flat Rock, Mich., alongside the Ford Probe (with whom the 626 shares its available V6 engine) and the Mazda MX-6, was the first Japanese-branded sedan to be called a true domestic by government agencies, yet it remains as reliable as a Timex. But it sits, while Altima after Accord after Lumina roll out of neighboring dealerships.

We think things are about to change for Mazda, now that Ford owns a controlling interest in the company and has trimmed fat from the model mix. This year, 626 models equipped with the 2.5-liter V6 engine get more power and torque, while basic LX models can be decked out with a new LX Appearance Package. The package includes two-tone paint, power sunroof, leather seats, chrome wheel covers, an anti-theft system and remote keyless entry. Audi systems have been revised, and two new colors (Mojave beige Metallic and Slate Blue Metallic) replace one old one (Sahara Gold Metallic).

Dual airbags, height-adjustable seat belts, and side impact protection that meets 1997 requirements are all standard on the 626. Anti-lock brakes are optional on LX and LX V6 models; they come standard on the ES. The best value is offered by the LX V6, which barely tops $22,000 when equipped with ABS and an automatic transmission. Better yet, the Mazda's V6 can be mated to a five-speed manual shifter, unlike comparable models from Honda and Chevrolet.

We like the 626's flowing interior design. Seating is comfortable, and the rear bench is roomy and supportive -- more so than that found in the Nissan Altima. Controls are well placed and highly legible. We're still debating the exterior of the 626. Some like the chrome accents and more prominent hood that debuted in 1996, while others liked this Mazda just as it was when introduced in 1993; crisp, clean and uncluttered.

We already recommend the 626 to folks who want a reliable, fun-to-drive sedan. With Accord-beating performance, Altima-beating interior accommodations, and Lumina-beating sophistication, how can you go wrong with the 626?

1997 Highlights

LX V6 and ES models gain power and torque, while the four-cylinder LX gets a Lexus-like trim package that includes two-tone paint, chrome wheel covers, leather interior, and other creature comforts. Audio systems are revised and two new colors debut.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1997 Mazda 626.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

4.38 out of 5 stars
2nd used Mazda-still happy
LX 4dr Sedan
Bought them ('95 & '97) as School Cars, although Dad drives 'em too! Fun, Zippy, fuel efficient cars! $1,000 paid for 97. LX 4 cyl 5 speed, 180,000 miles--needs some TLC /body work, tires, brakes--but solid, no rust, and runs great. 1995 Mazda still going strong and at College with Oldest Son. This one (1997) has a Sunroof, all the trims, and runs really well. Simple design. Don't know why Mazda doesn't bring this model back--simple, inexpensive, frugal car. They'd sell more than they did in the 90's. Good road car--despite small stature--here in the Mid-west.
4.75 out of 5 stars
DX 4dr Sedan
Quit ride,good milage,fun to drive. best car I have owned in 50 years. Lowest cost to operate.
1.88 out of 5 stars
A nightmare to remember!
LX V6 4dr Sedan
I was given the car when it had only 37k miles on it now the car is only 52k miles and I've replaced the alternator about 3 times after being left in the middle of the streets several times, the transmission is leaking rivers of red oil, the axis is been always a problem and each day is worse and worse and the car's engine is always getting hot. Each time I try to correct the problem, it comes back like 2 months later. I've spent 1000s of dollars in fixing this car and NOTHING. In fact, I'll never buy a Mazda again in my life, this is a true disaster. Seriously, stay away from the 626!
1.88 out of 5 stars
my mazda 626
LX 4dr Sedan
Not happy with car mechanically despite it being well maintained. Transmission went at 45K miles, numerous other repairs needed, even while in warranty.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver2 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1997 Mazda 626

Used 1997 Mazda 626 Overview

The Used 1997 Mazda 626 is offered in the following submodels: 626 Sedan. Available styles include LX 4dr Sedan, ES V6 4dr Sedan, LX V6 4dr Sedan, and DX 4dr Sedan. Pre-owned Mazda 626 models are available with a 2.0 L-liter gas engine or a 2.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 164 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 1997 Mazda 626 comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Mazda 626?

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Which used 1997 Mazda 626s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1997 Mazda 626 for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1997 Mazda 626.

Can't find a used 1997 Mazda 626s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mazda 626 for sale - 1 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $20,008.

Find a used Mazda for sale - 7 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $20,739.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda 626 for sale - 6 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $16,633.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda for sale - 5 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $10,955.

Should I lease or buy a 1997 Mazda 626?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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