1994 Mazda 626 Review
The Mazda 626 LX-V6 is a contemporary-looking, dramatically curved midsize sedan that resembles - but doesn't copy-vehicles such as the Lexus or Chrysler LHS. That said, our impression was that it looked a little too small for a vehicle with a price tag in excess of $20,000.
A rich Hunter Green Metallic covered our test vehicle. If flawless fit-and-finish is a Japanese manufacturing custom, this slippery, aerodynamic sedan was right in line. The front bumper, full-length side moldings and recessed door handles color-matched the body perfectly.
If there was a dominant geometric shape within the 626 LX-V6s styling, it was the ellipse. In front, elliptically shaped headlight/side marker lenses flanked a rather diminutive but complementary grille. The lenses combined with sectioned scoops in the bumper to give this car a slightly racy countenance a nice change from the standard midsize front-end treatment.
The same distinctive half-ellipse, half-teardrop effect was echoed in the full-width taillight assembly in back and in the combination of the gently bubbled roofline and side-window glass. Comparable shapes were even evident in the unusual-looking 15-inch aluminum wheels. Both front and rear fenders sloped dramatically down and away from the raked windshield and rear window, respectively. While the cosmetic affect was unusual and eye-pleasing, it did create one functional flaw: We simply couldn't see the rear fender crowns or trunk lid when we were in reverse. This condition led to a little parking by sound" before our test driver got the location of the rear fenders in his mind's eye."
From the instrument panel to the door handle recesses, the same smooth styling was echoed throughout the interior of the 626 LX-V6. A graceful dash curvature capped a recessed, well-illuminated instrument cluster that contained easy-to-read speedometer and tachometer dials, analog temperature and fuel gauges, main and trip odometers and a shift position indicator.
The four-spoke steering wheel was comfortable to grasp and contained well-positioned cruise control, head light dimmer and horn buttons. The dashboard housing above the center console had a button-operated air conditioner with a unique automatic swing control that directed the center vents to sweep back and forth over the interior. The same upper console also contained nicely situated dual cupholders, a storage recess for sunglasses and a push-release ashtray.
Controls for the 626 LX-V6's power windows an door locks were conveniently positioned on the driver's armrest and were unusual lift up" switches in lieu of more common push buttons. They seemed to offer a little more ease and preciseness in opening. However, the power door locking operation required our driver to hold up the door handle and then activate the lock control-a decidedly cumbersome process.
For comfort, support and style, seating in the 626 LX-V6 was uniformly excellent. Solid cloth trim combined with a tweed middle to impart a distinct appearance. The front bucket seats were deeply padded and reclined easily. A design flaw existed between the front buckets, though, where the armrest was positioned too low for comfort. It was considerably lower than the armrests in the doors, forcing drivers who prefer to support both elbows into a starboard list.
Rear seating could accommodate three adult passengers only when absolutely necessary; quite frankly, rear-seat shoulder- and legroom fell short of our standards for a true midsize sedan. However, the rear seatback did fold down to make room for oversized cargo."
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 1994 Mazda 626, click here: 1994 Mazda 626.