The 2002 Mazda 626 marked a top seller in the coupe category in 1998, during its introduction. However, the recent competition has passed this budget-friendly vehicle. The 626 offers two trim levels with two engine options: the LX and the ES.
The 2002 Mazda 626 provides a serious bargain considering the comfort, convenience, and power additions. It offers a sporty and affordable alternative to the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, and Honda Accord. The sedan receives major revisions in engineering, as well as freshened exterior and interior changes. The 2002 Mazda 626 makes a worthy selection in the segment, continuing to provide great value and reliability.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 2.5-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Mazda 626 LX, Mazda 626 LX V6, Mazda 626 ES V6
This year, ordering an automatic transmission ensures additional options on the LX or ES-V6. The Mazda 626 LX-V6 offers no options. The ES loses some standard features; the Bose speakers, cassette player, and moonroof, now require optional purchase in the ES Premium package.
The 2002 Mazda 626 bears a slight family resemblance to its upscale sibling, the Millennia. Apparent from the front, it uses the hallmark, Mazda, five-point grille. The decrease in exterior chrome presents a more refined, elegant look. The sedan rides on a 105-inch wheelbase, and it extends to 187.4 inches in length. Shorter than the Camry and Accord, it has an advantage for those looking for a more compact sedan. The Mazda sedan measures 55.1 inches tall and 69.3 inches wide. The LX and LX V6 wear 15-inch steel wheels, while the ES uses 16-inch alloy wheels. All models have a rear defogger, intermittent wipers, and all-season tires.
The 626 seats five passengers in front bucket seats and a rear three-place bench featuring a split-folding rear seatback that allows for more cargo space. A total of 14.2 cubic feet opens up for carrying items with the seats folded. The LX sedan has cloth upholstery, while the ES includes standard leather seating. Standard equipment includes remote keyless entry, air-conditioning, cruise control, power door locks, power windows, cup holders, remote trunk release, power steering, a tilt steering wheel, front reading lights, dual vanity mirrors, and an overhead storage console.
Upper levels add a leather steering wheel, leather shift knob trim, rear and front floor mats, and heated mirrors. The AM/FM stereo system in the 2002 Mazda 626 has four speakers and a CD player built into the dash.
Performance & Handling
The 2002 Mazda 626 offers a two-liter four-cylinder as standard equipment, and the 2.5-liter V-6 remains optional for the LX. Mazda ES comes only with V-6 power. Four-cylinder models produce 125 horsepower. The V-6 generates 165 hp and adds fun and excitement to the driving experience.
The engines drive an automatic four-speed or manual five-speed transmission. The manual shifting gives a livelier acceleration and comes standard on all models.
The highly rigid chassis provides a smooth ride quality and excellent handling, while the MacPherson struts dampen road vibrations adequately. Sound-deadening materials keep wind noise down for a very pleasant ride. Rack-and-pinion steering enhances with power-assistance.
All-wheel disc brakes help keep the 626 stable when coming to a stop. Traction control and anti-lock brakes improve models with the automatic gearbox. Emergency braking maneuvers require ABS assistance, and slippery road conditions benefit from traction control.
Safety features for the 2002 Mazda 626 include dual front airbags, anti-lock brakes, a panic alarm, an engine immobilizer, a security system, and traction control.
EPA Fuel Economy
Mazda 626 LX: 23/29 mpg city/highway
Mazda 626 LX V6: 19/25 mpg city/highway
Mazda 626 ES V6: 19/25 mpg city/highway
- Sharp handling and steering
- Simple interior design
- V-6 available with a manual transmission
You Won't Like
- Styling lacks excitement
- Option process requires automatic transmission
- Less horsepower than rival family sedans
Neither a sports car for enthusiasts nor large enough for families.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Dodge Charger
- Honda Accord
- Buick LaCrosse
- Acura TSX
- Toyota Camry
- Nissan Altima