Midsize car; Built in USA, Japan
  • 4-door hatchback
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $1,400*


1991 Mazda 626 LE 4-door sedan


1991 Mazda 626 4-door hatchback


1990 Mazda 626 4-door hatchback


1990 Mazda 626 LX 4-door sedan


1992 Mazda 626 4-door sedan

Pros:
  • Acceleration (GT)
  • Antilock brakes (optional)
  • Fuel economy
Cons:
  • Acceleration (w/automatic transmission)
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Torque steer (GT)

All in all, this is a refined rival to the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. In addition to a selection of practical virtues, you get Mazda’s reputation for above-average reliability.

Overview

The third generation of Mazda’s compact sedan had been introduced in 1988. The 4-door (notchback or hatchback) was still called 626, but the related coupe, named MX-6, now rode a shorter wheelbase. For 1990, antilock braking was newly optional on the mid-range 626 LX model, and also on the more costly hatchback GT Touring Sedan. Also new was a fresh grille and new taillamps. DX and LX sedans carried a 110-horsepower, 2.2-liter 4-cylinder engine. A turbocharged rendition of that 2.2-liter was installed in the GT model, developing 145 horsepower.

Yearly Updates

1991 626
Nothing was changed mechanically for 1991.
1992 626
By 1992, the slow-selling hatchback Touring Sedan was dropped. Otherwise, the 626 continued for its final season in this form virtually unaltered.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Two engines and two transmissions were available to the 626 buyer. An overhead-cam 2.2-liter 4-cylinder engine went into the DX and LX, making 110 horsepower and 130 pound-feet of torque. The GT Touring Sedan took advantage of a turbocharged 2.2-liter, rated at 145 horsepower and 190 pound-feet. Either 5-speed manual shift or a 4-speed automatic transmission might be installed in any 626 model.

ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.2/133
Engine HP 110
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 130
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
24/31
22/28
23.7
Turbocharged ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.2/133
Engine HP 145
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 190
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
21/28
19/25

Road Test

The basic 110-horsepower engine provides fairly brisk acceleration and lively passing power. With 5-speed manual shift, even a base model will provide some excitement. Unfortunately, the automatic transmission shifts harshly in hard acceleration, and also balks at downshifting to a lower gear to furnish additional power. Mazda’s Turbo four packs quite a wallop, delivering ferocious acceleration, but coupled with excessive “torque steer.”

Though stiffer than typical family cars, the ride is soft and supple. Handling and roadholding are more than competent, even in DX trim, suffering only moderate body lean in turns. Road and engine noise are stronger than in some Japanese rivals. Wind and tire sounds can grow annoying, but gas mileage is good with either engine. An LX averaged nearly 25 mpg overall. Turbo models and recent LX/GT editions may have optional antilock brakes, which we recommend.

Interiors feel roomier than in the prior generation. A 626 holds four adults without serious cramping. Still, because the wheelbase of a 626 is shorter than that of a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, you can expect less leg room. Split rear seatbacks fold down for more cargo capacity.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1990 Mazda 626 LX 4-cylinder

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 4
40%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 4
40%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Front - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
40%
Cargo Room - 4
40%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 44

Specifications

4-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
101.4 179.3 66.5 54.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
22.4 15.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.7 37.2 43.6 32.9
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
101.4 179.3 66.5 55.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
15.9 15.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.0 37.8 43.7 36.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1992 626 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 106
Injury 105
Theft 79

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: The air-conditioning refrigerant may leak out because the steel clamp holding the aluminum pipe for the receiver/drier creates galvanic corrosion resulting in pin holes. After the pipe is replaced, the problem will recur unless vinyl tape is wrapped around the pipe before installing the clamp. (1990)
Suspension noise
Description: A knocking noise from the front suspension during sharp turns or driving over a bump is likely due to a missing rubber spring seat. (1990-92)
Water leak
Description: Water may leak into the taillight/brake-light housing and into the trunk because of a bad seal in the housing. (1990-92)

Recall History

1990-91
Description: Molded door-latch handles may fail, permitting rod to fall inside frame; lowering of window could then release latch, allowing door to inadvertently open.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.