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2001 Mazda 626 Sedan

4dr Sdn LX V6 Manual

Starting at | Starting at 21 MPG City - 27 MPG Highway

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  • $19,935 original MSRP
Printable Version

2001 Mazda 626 Sedan

Printable Version

2001 Mazda 626 Sedan

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2001 Mazda 626

Source: New Car Test Drive

This car should be on any mid-size shopping list.

by Mitch McCullough

Base Price (MSRP) $18,735
As Tested (MSRP) $24,365

Mazda's 626 is a sporty alternative to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. V6-powered Mazda 626 models cost less than the hot Nissan Maxima, while four-cylinder 626s compare well with the Nissan Altima. So consider Mazda when shopping for mid-size import. Be different.

Extensively redesigned last year, the Mazda 626 is an attractive sedan, though, like the Camry and Accord, won't attract a lot of attention. More important, it comes with a much stiffer body structure than pre-2000 models, so it rides, handles, and stops better than ever. Its stiff chassis and well-tuned suspension give it a sure-footed feel that'll encourage you to press down the accelerator pedal as you exit a tight corner. And when you do, you'll appreciate the power Mazda engineers have coaxed out of the optional V6 engine. In short, the 626 is more fun to drive than most of the mid-size competition.

Further refinements for 2001 include a new, modular audio system. Like all Mazda products, the 626 comes with three years of free roadside assistance and slightly longer warranty coverage (to 50,000 miles); Mazda says its dealers will even provide a free loaner when and if your 626 requires warranty repairs.

Model Lineup

Two trim levels are available: basic LX and the leather-trimmed ES.

Buyers can mix and match these trim levels with two different engines: a 2.0-liter inline-four rated 125 horsepower, and a 2.5-liter V6 rated 165 horsepower. Both engines feature dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder.

Mazda supplies any combination of the above with a five-speed manual transmission, except for the four-cylinder ES, which comes only with a four-speed automatic. The autobox is an $800 option on the other models. (It is worth noting that Honda does not offer the Accord V6 with a manual transmission, and Toyota will build a five-speed Camry V6 only one mid-range trim level.)

In addition to its leather interior, the 626 ES-V6 comes with an eight-way power driver's seat and a power glass moonroof. Dual airbags, remote keyless entry, cruise control, and EZ Kool tinted glass are standard on all 626 variants.

Walkaround

Mid-size cars are popular because they excel at moving passengers with speed, comfort and efficiency. Most, however, are clothed in conservative designs, which is a nice way of saying they are bland. Though it's no real head-turner, either, the 626 at least looks both functional and sporty. Its subtle wedge shape bears a family resemblance to the more upscale Mazda Millenia. That's most apparent when viewed from the front, where see its Mazda-hallmark five-point grille and tasteful brightwork. Overall, Mazda has chosen to tone down the chrome, and this has resulted in a cleaner, more elegant look.

Interior Features

Mazda designed the 626 for optimum interior space efficiency. The space devoted to mechanicals was minimized, while the room afforded to passengers and cargo was maximized. Still, the 626 isn't quite as roomy as the Camry.

Overall, though, its interior design emphasizes quality, comfort and ergonomics. It is an attractive space, with a good choice of materials and an aesthetic sense of color balance.

The front bucket seats in the 626 are excellent. They provide long-distance driving comfort, with plenty of shoulder space and superb lateral support, both important on winding mountain roads. The rear seats are comfortable also, again with good shoulder space, but knee room is a bit short for tall passengers.

The trunk is spacious and well-shaped, a rectangular bin without obstructions. The trunk lid includes the panel between the tail lights, so you won't have to lift any higher than the bumper when hefting groceries or baggage. The rear seats fold down for additional cargo capacity, or to carry longer items. There's plenty of in-cabin storage as well, allowing motorists to stash everything from cassette tapes to handheld cellular phones.

The layout of the instrument panel makes the gauges easy to read. Controls and switches more located comfortably within reach. You won't have to take your eyes off the road to fiddle with the power mirrors or to turn on the rear defroster. Switches and knobs have a refined feel that bespeaks luxury.

Driving Impressions

There are several reasons why the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord dominate the market, but chief among them are their smooth ride, quiet operation, and solid-gold reputation for reliability. As transportation appliances, they are the leaders.

The Mazda 626 is a lot more fun to drive. This car has a personality. It provides excellent communication between the driver and the road. It steers so precisely, so exactly where you want it to go, that each corner on the route home becomes a stimulating experience.

Downshift into a lower gear, and the V6 growls to life. Smooth and gutsy, it produces 165 horsepower and 161 pound-feet of torque. That doesn't quite measure up to Honda's superb VTEC V6, which delivers a full 200 horsepower, but the 626 should have no trouble keeping up. More importantly, the 626 delivers a sporty exhaust note that is pleasing to the ear; making it fun to rev.

Mazda's 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rates 125 horsepower at 5500 rpm, and 127 pound-feet at 3000. It provides good performance and is rated by the EPA at 26 mpg City/32 mpg Highway.

Completing the performance picture is Mazda's crisp-shifting five-speed manual transmission. The four-speed automatic transmission also shifts smoothly, with minimal hunting between gears on uneven terrain.

The highly rigid chassis of the 626 provides a stable platform for excellent handling and smooth ride quality. The suspension employs MacPherson struts up front and Mazda's twin-trapezoidal links in the rear, plus big stabilizer bars at both ends. Potholes and road vibration are dampened well, while noise is held in check through careful application of sound deadening insulation. Steering is variable-rate power-assisted rack-and-pinion. On V6 models, four-wheel disc brakes are complemented with optional ABS and traction control. ABS allows the driver to maintain steering control in emergency braking maneuvers, while traction control reduces front wheel spin in slippery conditions.

Final Word

The Mazda 626 is handsome and roomy. It offers taut, precise handling. And it's quick when fitted with the V6 engine. No matter which model you choose, you'll find plenty of desirable standard equipment, and the price tag makes this mid-size sedan more than competitive.

Because it has fewer dealers and a smaller advertising budget than Honda and Toyota, Mazda doesn't always find its way onto the shopping lists of busy consumers. But if you want a practical mid-size sedan that's also fun to drive, you can't afford to overlook the Mazda 626.

© New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

2001 Mazda 626 Sedan

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Opt
Traction/Stability Control Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Opt
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Fog Lamps Opt
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std
Printable Version

2001 Mazda 626 Sedan

Mazda Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

Each Mazda Certified Pre-Owned vehicle comes with a 12-Month / 12,000 Mile Vehicle Limited Warranty with no deductible on covered components, which begins when the factory warranty ends. If it's out of warranty, the 12-month/12,000 miles warranty begins on the certified retail date.

Coverage begins on the limited powertrain warranty from the original retail sales date and covers 7-Years /100,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 2008-2014 model years and less than 80,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 150-Point Detailed Inspection

Autocheck® Vehicle History Report with 3-year buyback protection from Experian, subject to all Experian & Experian Automotive buyback terms and conditions.

Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance 24hr Roadside Assistance for the life of the Powertrain Limited Warranty offers confidence on the road around the clock.
Special Financing Yes, see your Mazda dealer for details.
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $0

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2001 Mazda 626 Sedan

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