Decent vehicle for the money
I've owned my 2000 626 for 8 years with 120,000 miles, it's a 6 cylinder which is better than the 4 cylinder which has more issues. good points are the roomy interior, a decent ride. I get 20 mpg using regular gas (premium is preferred). Plenty of zoom even with these miles I can still squeal the tires! The A/C and heater are strong and the swinging air vents are a great feature.
Weak issues are the few mechanical things Mazda did that adds to costs, like the fuel filter and replacing spark plugs is not a DIY. Also Mazda dealer repair is a rip off, find a good independent shop to maintain the car, Buy DIY parts from RockAuto for best prices. The car will stay strong.. But Toyota & Honda are much better cars IMHO.