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Mazda 626

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  • It seems like a joke, but there's something to it. I took my lowly 2000 LX in for its four-month service last week, and for the day, I borrowed a brand-spanking-new Taurus with the 155-hp V6. Going up the hill east of my office, the Taurus complained audibly about having to work so hard, and the automatic dropped out of fourth only after being given a swift kick in the bell-housing. The 626, with its teensy four, just grunts, drops to second, and scoots to the top without incident. It is no secret that Ford builds both these transmissions; however, the blue-oval crew apparently chose to tune their family car for maximum somnolence, while the Mazda guys seem to start from the assumption that you want to drive the living whee out of this thing, even if it is a four-door sedan with workaday tasks to perform, and stuff that Ford foists off on them evidently undergoes some arcane Mazdafication process before it ever gets out the door of the assembly plant.

    Or, as the slogan used to say: "It Just Feels Right".
  • What do both these cars have in common? a soul. My Mazda reminds me of a cute little puppy, eager to play, doesn't have a lot of teeth (horsepower) or a savage bark (engine), but gosh it's fun and will put everything it's got into playing with you.

    Have you ever seen that 102 Dalmations ad where the puppy is playing around in the spots with "Bow wow wow yippee yo yippee yay" (Atomic Dog) playing in the background? That's me and my 626 in the rain.

    BTW, if you have the automatic ES-V6, the O/D button, if you rev up an instant before you turn overdrive off, can be used like a turbo button.

    Of course the local NoCal souped-up Honda's and BMW's can wail me senseless over the long haul, but it's a blast to sneak up behind one as he's doing 80 and acting as if he's mister big stuff, floor it/drop OD and scream past him at a 30 mph differential.

    Try this in a BMW...74000 miles, no LEAKS, no BREAKDOWNS, no DAYS IN THE SHOP!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Great point - soul. Character. Personality. So many cars lack it.

    Coincidence, Dave - we also own a 626 V6 ES and a Miata. Small world.

    Given you're in MN, I would drop the RWD choices. I love RWD, but you already have a Miata and need something different for when it's not sunny.

    So that leaves FWD or AWD. IMO, my main complaint about our 626 is that it feels nose heavy and understeers. FWD is also less fun.

    So I'd pick AWD. There are a bunch of fun choices for you - Audi A6 4.2, 2.7T, A4 Avant 2.8 and S4 Avant. BMW 330xi looks fun. The new baby Jag coming soon. I didn't like the XC much, personally, but try it. Don't forget the Subaru Outback VDC and LL Bean, too. Just because the price is low doesn't mean you won't like it. Benz has a 4Matic E class, too. Lots of cool choices, none boring.

    Besides the 2 Mazdas, which serve us well, we have a Subaru Forester. It's a great ride, reliable and with loads of character. When it's rainy or snowing, there is absolutely no question in our minds as to which vehicle to take. I've even had it on light trails at local orchards and on the beach in the Outer Banks.

    So my advice is to pick something that complements your fleet well. In other words, something very different than the Miata and Focus, like an AWD wagon.

    My 2 cents.

    -juice
  • I used to use premium (91 or 94 only) fuel for my 00 626 LX-V6 but with the gas prices being so crazy these days, I switched to 89 (medium grade) after the first mantainence .... and don't really notice much of a performance degradation ... maybe a very slight one at higher speed but it could also be the ingredient they put in the gas in winter (I live in toronto, canada) ....

    So yeah I think I'll stick with 89.

    #17
  • When you think about it, at least here in MN, the difference between the 87 and the 91 is 15c a gallon. The 89 is somewhere in between.

    With a normal fill up from just above the E running 14 gallons that's about $2 difference in a fill up. I'll get about 300-320 miles from that and I fill up 3 or 4 times a month. Call it 4 and you have $8 a month.

    $8 a month is pocket change. I'm not sure there is any darned difference between 87 and 91 and I certainly could not explain what it is and what it does to an engine beyond the very basic theory of higher ignition temps but all I know is the very clever people who designed and built the car I paid nearly $20,000 for say it's better to pay an extra $8 a month - a couple of beers at a bar - in gas to keep it running the way they designed it.

    I think I'll follow their advice on this one. When that $8 becomes $50 I'll think about worrying about it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The difference around me is bigger. 24 cents last time I stopped for gas.

    At 15k miles per year, with an average of about 21mpg, I use about 714 gallons of gas per year, or $171 more.

    But that's not the real reason. We used to buy premium fuel exclusively. Nothing but the best. Then, right around 60k miles, we started having problems with the fuel system. It was running like a dog.

    They cleaned the fuel injectors and that fixed it. But that also meant the supposedly "premium" fuel diet it was on didn't do squat. I ran my Escort for 107k miles on the cheapest regular gas I could find and the fuel system was fine. Never a problem.

    Warning: Conspiracy Theory Rant - could all the extra additives in the premium fuel have been the cause of my problems?

    Who knows. But I'm saving $171 and have not had any fuel system issues since.

    -juice
  • hkchanhkchan Posts: 420
    Extra additives? That's the problem. Chances are there're no extra additives. Oil companies were careful. To my knowledge (for whatever its worth), they never claimed any extra additives. It's always "drive your engine clean". Never "cleaner". Chances are your car's engine would've developed the same problem if it were on regular unleaded, from the same company or companies.
  • The V6 listens for detonation and adjusts its timing accordingly; it is highly unlikely that using the next grade down (or even the one below that) is going to cause actual engine damage. At worst, it should lop a few HP off the top of the curve. (Still, you paid for all those ponies.)

    The four-cylinder, incidentally, doesn't have a sensor of this sort, but then it's tuned to run on the lamest grade of Sunoco swampwater.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Henry: you are probably right about most likely having the same problem with regular from the same stations. The point is the extra $171 didn't make a difference.

    Also, Amoco got smacked when they were claiming they removed "harmful impurities" in their Ultimate ads. They had to retract the ads because they were bogus.

    I can't feel a difference on our V6. When we got the fuel system serviced and started using 87 octane, it got significantly faster. Though I'm sure it's due to the former.

    -juice
  • Hi Folks,
    I am the newest member of the 626 club. Bought a 626 LX V6 (4 speed Automatic)yesterday (2/28/01) for 19,700+tax and tag. It also has the LX-V6 PREMIUM PKG. I also got 0% financing for 48 months. Do u guys think that is a good deal? I am curious to know...this is my first new car.
    Thanks
  • hkchanhkchan Posts: 420
    That was my point exactly. If the manufacturer doesn't say the engine requires 91 octane, and it doesn't knock running on 87, and you're satisfied with the reduced power output, then I would use 87.
  • jumpmomjumpmom Posts: 11
    Hi all- We did get the Galaxy Blue 2001 626 LXV6 yesterday! Complete with ZOOM-ZOOM sticker but I have to decide where to put it! :) We ended up getting one with the 2LX (premium package) after all. It was here in town on another dealer's lot and the next closest one without the 2LX (in the Blue) was in Kansas! Our dealer made us a very good deal on our trade so we didn't have to move up too much from our price point for the 2LX. And just to make sure I would be very happy I had a moon roof, today was warm and sunny so I could test it out.. ZOOM ZOOM! :)

    Also the original dealer had installed something called a Tap Lock- seems to be kind of a backup key less coed entry system ($699!!) We are not sure if our dealer knew it was there- the car was delivered at 1:00 and we picked it up at 2:00. The add on was on a separate sticker from the window sticker taped facing backward on the window sitcker so we didn't notice it. They didn't mention it and didn't charge us for it and we didn't discover it until last night -when we were sitting in the car sniffing that new car smell after the kids went to sleep ;)! Seems like it could be useful in some weird circumstance but not something I would have payed for. And believe me, we re checked our buyer's order and invoice to make sure! What do you think- is it worth keeping or is it just strange that they didn't mention it? Could it cause some sort of problem?

    Anyway thanks for all of your help during this process- maybe I do not hate car shopping as much as I thought!

    To panditchee- Sounds to me like you got a great deal!! We payed $20,099 + TT for what sounds like the same car - that was S-plan plus a $500 local rebate and the 0% for 48 months. So you beat what I thought was a really great deal by almost $400! Congratulations and have fun! ZOOM-ZOOM!

    To other owners/regulars to this conference- If I am wrong and we didn't get a good deal please do not tell me until next week OK? I want to enjoy this new car/good deal feeling for a little while but then learn from any mistakes for next time! (Not for me, I plan on keeping this car for 8-10 years but my husband will probably have to shop soon!)
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    I hope your 626 gives you years of enjoyment. I assume you got an automatic? :( Oh well, one more manual trans for us freaks.

    :)
  • sharon27sharon27 Posts: 3
    What a nice, informative forum. I just (yesterday) picked up a new 626 LX V6. I drove at least seven other cars, many of which were possibly more attractive on the outside, but I don't sit there. I didn't get the premium package, but I did get a deal I couldn't resist --in fact I was looking at the four cylinder model and bought the six because it cost me less than the best deal I had found on a four. BTW, for whoever is keeping count (was it you, maltb?), make mine a 5-speed, please. (I was shocked to find that some cars in this class size could only be bought in automatic.)
    Thank you all already for the on-going discussion about grades of gas for this nice car. I suppose I'll experiment and see if I notice a difference in performance. Does anyone have an opinion about whether it's worth watching the gas mileage to see if I get better value for the higher octane, thereby reducing the cost difference?
  • I wouldn't expect the mileage to suffer greatly with the cheap stuff; the engine has lots of adjustment range and can presumably adapt to any reasonable fuel.

    I do expect, however, that the first few tanks will not necessarily be representative of the next hundred or so, as is fairly typical of new cars.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    I agree with windowphobe, your new car will have significantly worse mileage than expected. With all the tight tolerances that need to be worked in the extra load usually shaves off a few MPG.

    And Congrats Ray, the V-6 M/T looks like a real sleeper, but really does a number on a few unsuspecting hot rodders. Of course the real joy is being able to keep the RPMs up around the turns and launching out into the straights. I know it's a family sedan, but when I had my V-6 M/T I just couldn't resist.

    Happy Motoring!
    :)
  • samdad1samdad1 Posts: 1
    We took delivery of our fourth Mazda since 1979.
    In December we bought a 2000 LX V6 from Gallo Mazda in Worcester, MA. We have been using 87 in it with no ill affects. Neither of us speeds and with 4,000 mile on the car we are getting 21mpg mixed city/highway. We still have a 1997 626 lX 4 cylinder with 96,000 miles (it is on its 3rd auto transmission, all under warranty. We bought the 2000 with some hesitation but since the engine/transmission are more robust and since we liked the car as much as a Passat we took a chance. In 1979 we bought our first 626, the 80hp sedan, which we kept until 1985 (95,000 miles) when we needed a wagon (A Colt Vista which did not measure up)And I bought a 1982 GLC Sport which we kept for 100,000 plus miles and sold to our baby sitter who used it for for more years.
    For a time we switched to Toyota (Camry Wagon, Corolla Sedan and Geo Prizm GSI, my favorite).
    Our Subaru Legacy with 146,000 miles is for our kids.But we have been satisfied with our Mazdas and in two years I'll get a Protege ES, the closed thing to my Geo now on the market
    (or a used Miata). I've almost never used premium in any of these cars, perhaps one tankful a year if he station is out or regular.
  • atomtanatomtan Posts: 4
    Hi all. I have two days left on the lease of a 1998 626 lx 4 cyl. I have taken great care of the car,oil change every 3k,waxed twice a year,just had new tires and front brake pads put on. The gas mileage is great being that it is a 5 speed. I average 28 mpg city and 37 hi way. The residual is 10.9k on a car which wholesale is anywhere from 8.3k to 8.9k. My lease co.will not budge on the 10.9k price. Should I take a a gamble and extend the lease for up to 6 months banking that the lease co.will negotiate since the glut of lease turnins is growing and the auto auctions may become over saturated giving lease co.'s an incentive to negotiate. Or should I become a member of this 626 club asap and purchase it wednesday?
  • moimememoimeme Posts: 28
    I'm in a similar situation. I adore my leased '98 626 ES-V6. I just purchased a new, loaded Audi A6 4.2 but still enjoy my Mazda a great deal. That should let you know how incredible a car the 626 is!

    I just extended for 6 months too. Keep in mind that your residual price for the car will decrease accordingly. You don't have too much to lose unless you got a bad deal on the lease...
  • mrxbromrxbro Posts: 2
    Has anyone heard of this car? It seems Mazda put out this 5-door hatch back in the late eighties and early nineties and then dropped it. Does anyone out there know anything about this model? Reliability? Sportiness? (I've searched around the net and have found little info available. Mazda seems to be making a nice looking new 626 hatch back for sale everywhere but in the US.)
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    I know a little about it...Nice car and the 626 GT were always fun to drive. As far as a midsize hatchback in the US, the demand is just not there. Europe has always been a hot market for practical cars, but the US is too stuck on sedans. Maybe with the influx of small hatchbacks comming here we may see some midsize as well.

    :)
  • This was, indeed, a 5-door version of the 626 sedan, and generally it was fitted with Mazda's hottest four-banger of the time - a turbocharged 2.2-liter SOHC 12-valve four delivering 145 hp. When the fourth-generation 626 was launched for model year 1993 (and production for North America moved to Michigan), the GTs were left back home in Japan. As partial recompense, they gave us a new V6, but I still like the looks of the 5-door, and I wish they'd bring one here to supplement the new 5-door Protegé that's due out Real Soon Now.
  • hkchanhkchan Posts: 420
    windowphobe6, how soon is "Real Soon"?
  • Automobile magazine (4/01) says it's "an '02 model due later this spring".
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The new Protoge is more of a wagon than a hatchback, though they won't call it either.

    I don't care - I like wagons. Should be a fine vehicle.

    -juice
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    The name of the vehicle is Protege Sport Wagon and it will be in dealers toward the end of Spring or early Summer.

    :)
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    I see some conflicting info.
    What's the official name?
    Some say the vehicle will be officially called the Protege 5.
    BTW the car is a true hatchback, not a wagon.
  • hkchanhkchan Posts: 420
    You're right about the conflicting information, but the last thing I heard (not necessarily correct) is no wagon in the name. I've heard Protege 5 (could be one word), 5-door Sport (that's what's on Mazda's web site right now and no Protege in the name) and Protege Sport Wagon. I'm sure I've missed a couple.
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    How about that model?
    It used to be the MPS.
    What's the current designation? MP3 or Protege MP3?
    It seems they can't make their minds. :)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    vad: the reason I consider it a wagon is because I believe the roof extends farther back then in the sedan. A 5 door hatchback is basically a sedan with a glass hatch.

    The Protoge looks like the roof extends back a bit. Not much, but enough to distinguish itself from the sedan.

    Check it out here: http://history.mazda.co.jp/Archive/Lineup/FAMILIA-SW.200004/index.html

    -juice

    PS Familia Station Wagon - doubt they'll give it that name!
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