1998 Mazda 626 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Exceptionally fun to drive. Distinctive sports sedan in a sea of look-alike mid-sized four-doors.
  • High beltline. Unsettled rear suspension. Rear end looks like a Toyota Avalon. Prices climb quickly.
List Price Estimate
$710 - $1,736

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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 all-new 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. The 626 (built in Flat Rock, Mich.) 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 Camry roll out of neighboring dealerships.

We think things are about to change. Ford now owns a controlling interest in Mazda, and they won't stand to see their investment frittered away. The first volley of several new products you'll see hit Mazda showrooms in coming years is the redesigned 626. Larger, more powerful, and with a stiffer structure than ever, the new 626 remains a sensible selection for buyers who like to have a bit of fun carving corners when carpool pals or the kids aren't occupying the rear seat.

The new 626 has a smoother-shifting transmission, a larger fuel tank for extended range, and a new traction control system that comes standard on V6 models. Select from four trim levels: value-leader DX, mid-line LX, uplevel LX V6, or upscale ES. A 125-horsepower four-banger motivates the DX and LX, while higher trims get a 170-horsepower V6 engine. Either motor can be mated to your choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.

A CD player is standard on all models except the DX. Other goodies include antilock brakes (optional on LX and standard on V6 models), fade-out interior lighting, and engine-speed sensing rack-and-pinion steering gear.

The new 626 imparts an upscale image but remains a nimble canyon runner at heart. Our favorite is the ES V6 with a five-speed manual. It's the perfect grocery getting/entry-luxury/sports sedan for those who like to drive, but require the talents of a mid-size car for day-to-day living.

1998 Highlights

Mazda redesigns the 626, giving it more upscale styling, more powerful engines, a tighter body and increased cargo and people space while retaining the sedan's distinctive sporting nature.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1998 Mazda 626.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

LX V6 4dr Sedan
I bought this car new at the end of 1997 and I have almost 130,000 miles on it. I have the services done and the oil changed - that's it. I have had no major problems with this jewel. I have the automatic transmission, so I don't understand those who have had problems. Are they having their car serviced and oil changed? Anyway, I finally had to get a new battery after 8 years and the guy at my local service center was amazed that it was the original battery. I have had to finally get new tires. This is just a great car, I think I will keep it until it stops and it is not showing any signs of that anytime soon. It still drives like a new car. WOW!
Excellent Car
LX 4dr Sedan
We have been driving this car for 9 years, now, and this was the best car decision we ever made. The car is now 12 years old, and most of the original parts still work fine, including alternator, power options, rad, water pump, steering components, etc. The only unexpected problems were with some replacement wheel bearings which didn't last as long as they should have. We live in a very wintry area with lots of road salt, and the body has held up well. I did a bit of research before we bought the car, so I avoided the automatic (Ford built) transmission of the 90's. Ours is a manual transmission, and it is still smooth as silk ; and the gas mileage is amazing. Basically, I love it!
233K mile on it
LX 4dr Sedan
I bought this 98 mazda 626 about three weeks ago with 232k mile on it, so far, I feel It is a new car, interior, exterior, engine, etc, the engine is so quiet that when I stopped at traffic light, I thought the engine had stopped running. the gas mileage is excellent, the build quality is superb. the clutch is bit stiff, I do not know if it needs to be replaced or it is way it is. Two years later, lubricated the clutch, $130 replaced the engine seal. Now it has 265k on it. Runs like a new.
Weak transmissions
DX 4dr Sedan
I bought the car for my daughter in 1998 for her to finish high school and go off to college in. The car has never left her stranded, but the automatic transmission has greatly increased the cost of a higher education. I've had the transmission replaced twice, once at 55K miles, and again at 120K. The clutch packs appear to be the weak link in the transmission. I had to change the heater coil in 2000. I made the repairs myself one week end. I'll never do that again.


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
    Driver3 / 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 1998 Mazda 626

Used 1998 Mazda 626 Overview

The Used 1998 Mazda 626 is offered in the following submodels: 626 Sedan. Available styles include DX 4dr Sedan, LX 4dr Sedan, ES 4dr Sedan, and LX V6 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 170 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 1998 Mazda 626 comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual.

What's a good price on a Used 1998 Mazda 626?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1998 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) 1998 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 1998 Mazda 626.

Can't find a used 1998 Mazda 626s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mazda 626 for sale - 11 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $9,394.

Find a used Mazda for sale - 4 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $21,972.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda 626 for sale - 7 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $24,232.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda for sale - 7 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $13,379.

Should I lease or buy a 1998 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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