For a number of years, Mazdas have combined a more rigid chassis and better shock control than the average Japanese sedan, which gave their cars a "Euro" feel and a level of handling that was wasted on the transportation seekers who bought 323s and 626s. Mazda suspensions have been softened in the past few seasons to suit buyer preference, but handling, in premier models, is still above average.

In the endless marketing tug-of-war between the Honda Accord, Ford Taurus, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry, the real casualty was the 626. Competitive in most every way with those better-selling cars, the 626 was snowed under by advertising budgets beyond Mazda's reach.

Year-to-year changes

1991

When the '90s decade began, the Mazda 626 had different trim levels compared to the mid-1990s: DX and LX 4-door sedans and GT and LX Touring 4-door hatchbacks.

1995

For 1995, Mazda competes with the big boys by enhancing the four trim and option levels of the 626: DX, LX, LX-V6 and ES.

The base DX adds a new convenience package with air conditioning, stereo cassette, new wheel covers (shared with LX), four speakers (shared with LX and LX-V6) and a new raised front console on all four levels. The LX gets new aluminum wheels and keyless entry (shared with LX-V6 and ES), while the LX-V6 and ES get new 15-in. aluminum wheels (other levels use 14-in. wheels).

Mazda's excellent 2.5-liter V6 actually forms the basis for the racing engines used in the Ford Mondeos (called Contours here) that run in the German and English touring car championships. The 2.0-liter Four is about average for the class. Mazdas have an excellent 4-speed automatic with a "hold" feature that gives additional car control to the driver who learns to use it to shift manually. 

Retail prices

As of April 1, 1994:

  • $14,495 (1994 Mazda 626 DX)
  • $16,845 (1994 Mazda 626 LX)
  • $19,050 (1994 Mazda 626 LX V6)
  • $21,950 (1994 Mazda 626 ES V6)

As of 1995:

  • $15,115 (1995 Mazda 626 DX)
  • $17,895 (1995 Mazda 626 LX)
  • $20,095 (1995 Mazda 626 LX V6)
  • $23,195 (1995 Mazda 626 ES V6)

Shipping prices

  • $425 (1994 models)
  • $450 (1995 models)

Gallery

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