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When the 1993 MX-6 debuted, it made our hearts sing. Here, finally, was a Mazda 2+2 that combined all the fun of its predecessors while banishing the remaining 80's-era funk that afflicted Japanese cars. Out went the plasticky interior and stubby slab-sidedness of the '88-'92 model. Style and performance for moderate money was always the game of the MX-6, and the '93 model stepped it up a lot. Underhood was a rare (for the time) V6 connected to a manual transaxle. The exterior was a timeless Berlinetta with a tightly-wrapped form and delicate flowing lines. It looked less Mazda and more Ferrari 456.

More nostalgia after the jump

The MX-6 also provided the underpinnings for the excellent second-generation Ford Probe. While the Probe was good-looking in its own right, and the best sports car in Ford stores at the time, the MX-6 was a more balanced overall package. The exterior exuded elegant grace; Mazda's stylists managed to come up with a fresh look that wasn't as "drag races, ten cents" as the Probe. Echoes of the MX-6's taut form are visible even today, in the shape of the Mazda 6.

The MX-6 LS was the top-dog, stickering around $20,000 and offering a spanking-new DOHC V6 and available with a stickshift. The 164 horsepower of the V6 may not sound impressive 15 years on, but the competition was humping four-cylinder wares at the time. Sure, some of them were sporting forced-induction and putting down more power, but the raspy blat of a four cylinder is no match for the snarly aplomb a V6 can muster. Weighing in at 2700 pounds, sprints to 60 were in the mid-seven-second range. On paper, perhaps, the MX-6 may not seem to add up, but it's a wonderful package to live with in the everyday world. Punchy midrange and a relaxed demeanor differentiate the MX-6 from its rowdy contemporaries. The MX-6 LS came pretty fully optioned, so it's not like driving one will make you feel like an orderly at a sports car nursing home; they've got most of the stuff that cars today have.

Mazda knows chassis, and the MX-6 benefitted from cribbing the twin trapezoidal links from the RX-7's backside. The chassis stretch allowed the light and compact V6 to be placed further back to minimize understeer and keep turn-in sharp. The tricks worked, the MX-6 did not hopelessly push its way off the road when you wanted to get frisky. Contrary to what you might think, the moderate (yet more than adequate) power level allowed hustle without fighting from the helm or boiling the inside tire trying to power out of corners.

The second-generation MX-6 is a strange case. The fact that it's been out of production for a full ten years snuck up on us, and we miss seeing it. We're not sure where they all went, but they tended to be more adult-owned than their Probe cousins. That bodes well for finding an MX-6 that hasn't been abused, or had some god-awful body kit foisted upon it. The moderate when-new price ensures a bargain now for a car that still looks delicious, can deliver performance to back up its looks, yet doesn't beat your ass or your wallet.


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  • 38 Comments
      hampl173
      • 3 Years Ago
      I bought my Noble Green II 1997 MX-6 over here in the UK back in 2005. Wherever I go, it turns heads and is a wonderful drive. The V6 engine is simply awesome, the e-spec cars are all Japanese made and are better for it. The most reliable car I have ever owned. Zoom .... Zoom .... Zoom !!
      • 8 Years Ago
      I do not know if I would put it as collectable, but I would certainly recommend one to a college aged person looking for a decent reliable ride. Great car, then and still today, heck how many decent cars for daily use can you still get with a stick shift today?
      • 8 Years Ago
      I've gotta say that I am more nostalgic for the 1st gen Mx6. The F2T was a fantastic engine in the right hands and had a good amount of tuning potential. The car was built like a tank..its not unusual to see them reaching 300k miles with no major work under the hood. Plus, they were faster than the 2nd gen cars.

      I had a 1991 626 turbo (the MX6's brother,) and I would have to say that it was probably the best all-around car I ever owned. It was a true sleeper with all the utility of your basic grocery getter. It was just a lot more fun once the boost gauge swept past 12psi.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ahhh my first test drive as well, I was 17 looking for a good deal on a used car. '96 LS, 5spd, loved the thing after just a few blocks. The next day, I was beaten to the punch... Another came to the dealer with cash at opening and took the right from under me :(
      • 8 Years Ago
      To Dan Roth-

      Comparing the styling of the MX-6 to that of a Ferrari 456GT is absolutely absurd and ridiculous. Just because Mazda actually made a nice-looking car at one point is NOT grounds for you to say it looks anything like a Ferrari.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I've been a Mazda-phile ever since I bought my 1987 B2000 Cab Plus trucklet back in '86. It thought it was the best-looking of the bunch then and sometimes caught strangers staring in parking lots. Would've kept it forever were it not for dents, dings and broken things in the interior. I thought the materials were cheap, but the engine always purred like a kitten and the 86 ponies took me through 120,000+ carefree miles through 1993.

      Fast fwd 2007 and now looking back at 90's Mazda. They came up with beautiful things back then--- 929, 626, MX3 and the MX6. I do agree that these are all gems of car design, but unfortunately the material they're sculpted out of is "clay". So here we are today looking at ravishing beauties of the 90's ravished by time. Most of the ones I encounter here in my seaside city are like erstwhile beach babes prematurely aged by sun and salt suffering from cataracts (yellow lens). I think the sheetmetal and paintwork especially are substandard and susceptible to dings. fading and clearcoat flaking. Collectible? Yes, after some plastic (metallic?) surgery.

      BTW I'm on my 3rd Mazda, a 2001 Tribute. Paint and body holding up well, but door fabric is coming unglued.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I loved the 1993 MX-6 but I needed a hatchback to carry computer systems between NY and TX, I bought the '93 Ford Probe thinking same car, different skin. Ford had to have their name on the heads so they made new ones and mis-aligned the oil passages to the four cams. They used carbon impregnated string for plug wires, and found a cheaper battery that would expire with the warranty. The only problem I ever had was heads, plug wires and the battery. Ford could screw up a two car funeral!

      New heads took four months to get and two weeks and three cans of Stop Leak to install, Mazda supplied real copper plug wires ($107.) and Delco a good battery. It was my last Fraud ever!

      MX-6, I agree, a classic.

      Billy Ford roast in Hell!
      • 8 Years Ago
      The 2nd gen MX-6 is still one of the best overall designs by Mazda.

      I had a '93 LS 5-speed, black with black leather interior. It had its quirks, you had to tend to the e-brake as they had a tendency to bind, and the KL engine really likes Mobil 1 and OEM oil filter to avoid valve clatter. Still, the car was dead reliable, I had 145,000 miles on mine when I sold it. I preferred the ride of mine to my brother's '94 Probe GT. I don't think the handling was any worse, and it wouldn't beat you up on our frost-heaved Wisconsin roads. It was not a stoplight screamer, but with the Borla cat-back exhaust I put on, the V-6 made all the right sounds, handling was excellent, and it made a terrific grand touring car.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Collectible? Don't think so, but a nice very vehicle.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It was a classic at introduction. A very clean sports coupe. I think that one of Mazda's sharpest and most original designs. It is up there behind their original RX-7s. I still see plenty of them on the road. My ex-neighbor had one. She was a college a student and hers is in perfect condition. I'm sure that she gets plenty of buying offers for it. Yes, a classic for sure!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Nice as they are, they don't strike me as being that collectible. They were mass produced and didn't offer anything in the way of exceptional performance or other significant distinction that should help them hold their value much more than any other nice car from the era.
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