Midsize car; Built in USA
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,600 – $3,800*


2000 Mazda 626 LX


2001 Mazda 626 LX


2000 Mazda 626 interior


1998 Mazda 626


1998 Mazda 626 ES

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

A competent family 4-door, more mainstream than its predecessor, the 626 lost some of its sporting flair but still tops most rivals–especially with the V6 engine. LX versions offer the best combination of features and value in this competitive segment. Because it’s often overlooked, prices are appealing.

Overview

Mazda redesigned its long-time top seller for 1998. This was the first 626 sedan to have no coupe counterpart, as the Mazda MX-6 and related Ford Probe were discontinued.

Four models again went on sale: DX, LX, LX-V6, and ES-V6. DX and LX versions again used a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, but with 9 extra horsepower (now 125). Output of the available 2.5-liter V6 rose by 6 horsepower, to 170. All models could have either a five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic.

Wheelbase grew by 2 inches, and the sedan measured 2.4 inches longer overall and about half an inch wider. Curb weight rose modestly. Sedans with the V6 engine included traction control and an engine immobilizer. All-disc antilock braking was optional with V6 power.

Yearly Updates

1999 626
Mazda shuffled equipment and models for 1999, dropping the base DX sedan and adding a four-cylinder version of the top-line, leather-trimmed ES. The four-cylinder LX, LX-V6 and ES-V6 continued. Keyless entry now was standard on all models, as were variable-intermittent wipers and a power antenna. A manual driver’s-seat height adjuster was newly standard for all but the ES-V6, which had a power driver’s seat.
2000 626
Front side airbags joined the option list for 2000, included in an ABS option group, and the four-cylinder engine gained 5 horsepower. All but the four-cylinder LX had all-disc brakes. Antilock braking was optional across the board, including traction control when installed in a V6 sedan. The four-cylinder LX gained 15-inch wheels, while 16-inch alloy wheels replaced 15-inchers on the ES-V6 (and were optional for the LX-V6). All models added rear-seat heater ducts. Heated mirrors now were standard on the ES-V6, optional on others.
2001 626
Mazda’s family sedan was essentially unchanged for 2001.
2002 626
There were no significant changes for 2002, the 626’s final year before being replaced by the new Mazda 6.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Two engines were available. The 2.0-liter, dual-overhead-cam four-cylinder initially produced 125 horsepower, but grew to 130 hp in 2000. The twin-cam 2.5-liter V6 made 170 horsepower. Both engines could drive either a five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 125-130
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 127-130
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
26/33
22/29
dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/152
Engine HP 170
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 163
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
21/27
20/26
22.5

Road Test

Mazda wanted a quiet, refined compact for the next generation–and mostly succeeded in that quest. Engine and wind noise are well-muffled, though tire roar is too audible over coarse pavement. Ride quality is firm, but absorbent. The longer wheelbase helps reduce pitch and hop on scalloped freeways, though high-speed dips induce some floatiness. Cornering is still decisive and sporty, with only mild body lean and stable front-drive responses. Quick, precise steering is helpful, but directional changes aren’t really sport-sedan crisp. Braking is good, with little nosedive and steady tracking in hard stops.

Four-cylinder performance is at least adequate with manual shift, but sluggish with automatic, whereas V6 models are lively either way. With either engine, though, the automatic can downshift with a jerk at times. A manual-shift model averaged a pleasing 22.5 mpg. Though a compact, the 626 rivals some midsize sedans, with space for 6-footers to sit in tandem without rear riders’ knees digging into the front seats. Underseat foot room also is good. The cabin is still a bit narrow for uncrowded three-abreast grownup travel in back, but large doorways ease entry/exit. In terms of visibility, driving, seating, and dashboard layout; the 626 is competitive, but not terrific. Tall drivers might want a little more rearward seat travel to get further from the steering wheel. Interior decor has a tasteful, understated look. Small-items stowage is better than average, with roomy compartments in the dashboard and console, as well as map pockets. A 626 feels reassuringly stout on rough roads.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2001 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 - 3
30%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
50%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 48

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
105.1 186.8 69.3 55.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.2 16.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.2 37.0 43.6 34.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 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 - 3
60%
Rear Passenger Injury - 3
60%

HLDI

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

Collision 100
Injury 137
Theft 86

Trouble Spots

Brake noise
Description: New rear brake shoes with revised lining material help quiet brake squeal. (1998-99)
Coolant leak
Description: Early production models with the 4-cylinder engine may leak coolant from the optional block heater. A redesigned heater, made of cast brass, can be retrofitted. (1998-99)
Sunroof/moonroof
Description: A variety of sunroof problems may be due to broken or missing panel-bumper clips, loose guides, or motor and cable problems. (1999)
Vehicle noise
Description: The vapor-emission control valve makes a clicking or tapping noise in the rear of the vehicle and can be quieted with a redesigned bracket. (1998-2000)

Recall History

1993-01
Description: Certain SPX Filtran fuel filters may leak.
1999-00
Description: Certain reservoir tank caps on brake master cylinder lack ventilation holes; as a result, pressure in tank can drop gradually as brake pad or shoe wears and ambient temperature drops. Also, pressure could reach a point where brake caliper and drum cylinder are pulled back by vacuum when vehicle is parked for a long time.

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.