Midsize car; Built in USA
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,100 – $2,300*


1994 Mazda 626


1993 Mazda 626


1993 Mazda 626


1993 Mazda 626 interior


1996 Mazda 626 interior

Pros:
  • Acceleration (V6)
  • Fuel economy
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Road noise

All told, the solidly built 626 sedan is a strong contender against the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, though the latter are quieter and more luxurious.

Overview

Mazda’s totally restyled, Michigan-built front-drive sedan was the first Japanese-named model to qualify as a domestic car when it debuted in May 1992. A driver-side airbag now was standard; antilock braking optional. Mazda’s MX-6 coupe again was closely related to the 626 sedan and to Ford’s 2-door hatchback Probe. Base engine for the DX and LX versions was a twin-cam 2.0-liter four, rated at 118 horsepower. The top-shelf 626 ES carried a new 2.5-liter V6, which produced 164 horsepower. Both engines might drive either a 5-speed manual or optional 4-speed automatic transmission.

Yearly Updates

1994 626
For 1994, a passenger-side airbag was added, and a new mid-line V6 model debuted, called LX V6 and combining LX equipment with the 6-cylinder engine.
1995 626
A few new features and minor revisions marked this season’s 626, again offered in DX, LX, LX V6, and ES guise.
1996 626
No great change was evident on ’96 models, except for a more prominent grille surrounded by chrome. 626 now met 1997 side-impact standards. The horsepower rating of the V6 engine dipped to 160.
1997 626
Mazda’s top seller again saw no major revision. 626 would be all-new for ’98.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Horsepower and torque ratings differed considerably between the 4-cylinder and V6 engines, both of which were of dual overhead-cam configuration. The V6 was installed only in the 626 ES and the LX V6 models. Any 626 sedan might have either 5-speed manual shift or an optional 4-speed automatic transmission.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 114-118
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 124-127
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
26/34
23/31
25.1
23.8
dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/153
Engine HP 160-164
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 156-160
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
21/26
20/26
20.7

Road Test

A V6 and 5-speed deliver willing, capable performance and spirited acceleration. Both engines are smooth, free-revving, and fairly quiet, but neither has enough low-speed torque for pleasant, vigorous running with automatic. Automatics also are slow to downshift for passing. Worse yet, they suffer jerky full-throttle downshifts, especially with 4-cylinder power.

A 4-cylinder achieved nearly 24 mpg, and a manual-transmission V6 averaged 20.7 mpg.

Ride quality is good, with the suspension filtering out most pavement imperfections. The sedan also handles better than you might expect. Body lean is moderate in turns, but the car feels secure and composed in spirited driving. “Panic” braking is swift and stable.

Rear seating disappoints, and rear doors could be bigger. Head room is adequate for tall people, even with a power sunroof installed. Leg space is ample all around. Space also is adequate for rear passengers’ feet under front seats. Split rear seatbacks fold down for additional cargo space. Wind noise is low on the highway, though the 4-cylinder gets a little loud at higher speeds. Outward visibility is good, and the driver faces clear, simple control panels.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1996 Mazda 626 LX 2.5-liter 5-speed

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 - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 4
40%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 4
40%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
40%
Cargo Room - 4
40%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 49

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
102.8 184.4 68.9 51.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.8 15.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.2 37.8 43.5 35.8
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1997 626 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 2
40%
Rear Passenger Injury - 3
60%

HLDI

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

Collision 115
Injury 126
Theft 95

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: Poor A/C performance caused by defective relay will not let compressor cycle off on V6 models. (1993-95)
Door handles
Description: The outer door handles may come loose and rattle. Replace the original retaining nuts with ones that won’t come loose. (1993-95)
Engine knock
Description: Cars with a V6 engine built before March 1993 may have engine knock, especially when cold, due to carbon buildup in the combustion chamber. (1993-94)
Engine mounts
Description: Original motor mounts are prone to breakage. Mazda offers redesigned mounts as a replacement. (1993-94)
Engine noise
Description: A metallic tapping noise from the rear of the engine could be due to slippage between the exhaust-camshaft driven gear and friction gear. (1993-95)
Engine stalling
Description: If the engine stalls when the transmission is shifted into drive, the problem may be a cracked mass-airflow snorkel tube. (1993-94)
Power seats
Description: The insulation on the wires for the power seat can wear through causing a short circuit disabling the power seat. (1993-94)
Transaxle leak
Description: A damaged torque-converter hub seal allows fluid to leak from the automatic transmission. (1994-96)
Vehicle shake
Description: Vibration in the steering wheel, shift lever, and floor is probably caused by mispositioned radiator dampers. (1993-95)
Wipers
Description: The welds holding the wiper-arm support bracket break causing a creak or rattle when the wipers are running. (1993-95)
Speedometer
Description: If speedometer fails and transmission does not shift out of 3rd gear, speedometer gear set needs to be replaced. (1994-97)

Recall History

1993-01
Description: Certain SPX Filtran fuel filters may leak.
1994
Description: Headlight wire that runs through turn-signal lever can fail where it is soldered to switch, causing loss of headlights.
1995
Description: Some passenger-side airbags may not inflate properly; also, igniter cap can separate, causing hot gases to be released.
1995-97
Description: Airbag could deploy as a result of minor undercarriage impact.
1997
Description: Spring in timing-belt tensioner can break and get caught, resulting in possible engine stalling.

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.