Used 2000 Mazda 626 Review

Edmunds expert review

A bland, bread-and-butter sedan that's not big enough for families and not sporty enough for enthusiasts.

What's new for 2000

Improvements in styling, handling, steering, interior content and options are the highlights of the 2000 626.

Vehicle overview

The Mazda 626 has been somewhat of a wallflower these past few years, watching the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry receive the most attention from people looking to buy a four-door sedan. That's a bit unfortunate, as the 626 harnesses some solid attributes, especially in 2000. All models this year receive updated styling, revised interiors, and added content.

The Mazda comes in four trim levels: LX, LX-V6, ES, and ES-V6. The exterior has been altered this year by adding a new five-point grille with a large Mazda symbol, new headlights and taillights, and revised front-end styling. LX and ES models now have 15-inch wheels as standard, and the ES-V6 gets 16-inch wheels. It looks better, but the 626 still doesn't stand out very much.

Mazda prides itself on building cars that are fun to drive. For 2000, the 626 receives changes to further this characteristic. The body structure is stiffer than before, with strengthened front and rear suspension towers. The actual suspension design is still MacPherson struts up front and Mazda's Twin-Trapezoidal Link (TTL) at the rear, but there are now thicker front and rear antiroll bars. Mazda says these changes improve handling, and NVH has been reduced to improve comfort.

The steering, braking, and overall road feel of the 626 are better and more responsive than last year. The steering system has been altered to more closely feel like the Mazda Miata's, and the brake system benefits from revised components.

For power, the LX and ES feature a more powerful 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 130 horsepower and 130 foot-pounds of torque. LX and ES cars fitted with the 2.0-liter engine now qualify as ultra-low-emission vehicles. The V6 puts out 170 horsepower and 163 foot-pounds of torque. While both engines are competent, they do lack power when compared to the engines found in the Accord, Camry or Galant. Both 626 engines are available with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission.

The interior is still the same as it was when this 626 generation debuted in 1998, but 2000 brings minor updates. The big news is optional side airbags. But there's also a new center console, cloth or leather covers for the center armrest, chrome-plated door handles, different cloth and leather seat patterns, and illumination for more buttons and switches. Additional interior changes include a new rear-seat armrest, rear-seat heater ducts, and new gauge graphics.

The 626 (built in Flat Rock, Mich.) was the first Japanese-branded sedan to be called a true domestic by government agencies. With an upscale image and nimble handling manners, our favorite model is the ES V6 with a five-speed manual transmission. Though the 2000-year changes probably won't push the 626's sales past the Accord or Camry, they certainly make Mazda's mid-priced four-door sedan a much more attractive purchase for people looking for something a bit different.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.