If you’re looking for a used sports car that is fun to drive and has great fuel economy, you might be considering the Ford Probe or the Mazda MX6. Both of these 1990 cars are good choices, but which one is better?
Stick till the end of this post to get the answer since I will compare the two cars, and help you decide which one is right for you.
Table of Contents
Mazda MX6 and Ford Probe: Overview
Mazda MX6 is a successor of the Mazda MX5, which was launched in 1987 and remained in the market until 1997. Based on the Mazda GD platform, it was a sports car of the late 80s. The first generation of the line-up had Mazda F engines. The base variant (DX) had a 2.0 L 110 HP engine. While the turbocharged model (GT model), had a 145 HP engine.
Mazda MX6 was launched in multiple variants DX, LX, LE, and GT. DX was the base variant which had very options. The LX and LE version added power windows, locks, and mirrors. While GT was a turbocharged version, with maximum engine boost. It was a front-wheel-driven car, which has two transmission options, a 5-wheel manual transmission, and 4-speed auto transmission.
The second generation was launched by Mazda MX6 in 1991. However, this time the Japanese manufacturer introduced three different variants for three different regions. The A-spec version was launched in the US, while E-spec in Europe, and J-spec in Japan.
The A-spec model was manufactured by the Joint venture of Japanese Mazda and American Ford. It was the same plant making Ford Probe. The A-spec version had three trim levels, RS (Base Model), LS (Luxury model), and LSM (Special edition). The RS trim had an I4 116 HP engine while the LS had V6 164 HP engine.
Also read: Are Mazda Parts Expensive? (The Breakdown)
Now speaking of Ford Probe, it also had a lot of things in common with the Mazda MX6. Like its counterpart, it also came in two generations, 1988-1992, and 1992-1997. In the 80s, when fuel prices were quite high, Ford manufacturers thought front-wheel-drive cars like Mustang would go obsolete.
So, they thought of redesigning the Mustang by partnering with Japanese auto manufacturer Mazda, of whom they had 25% shares, by that time. So, under an Auto alliance, MX6 and Probe were produced in a plant located in Michigan. The production was divided into one-third MX6 and two-thirds Probe. That is why, Probe variants were the same as the A-spec version of Mazda MX6, with trims RS, LS, and GT. And The engine specifications are also the same on paper.
The Probe was considered to be a stylish car, and it featured unique design elements such as pop-up headlamps and a wraparound rear window. It was also one of the first cars to offer driver and passenger side airbags as standard equipment.
The Ford Probe was generally well-received by consumers and critics alike. It was praised for its stylish design, powerful engines, and comfortable interior. However, some reviewers did criticize the car for its lack of cargo space and poor visibility out of the rear window. Overall, the Ford Probe was a popular car that was praised for its looks and performance.
Since we have talked about their similarities, let’s compare these two cars in terms of their history, body shape, engine specifications, and safety.
Mazda MX6 had two generations. The first generation was from 1987 to 1992, and the second generation was from 1992-1997.
Likewise, Ford Probe also came across two generations. In fact, the Ford Probe is considered an American sister of the Mazda MX6 because it was a joint venture of Mazda and Ford Group. That’s why you will feel that Ford Probe is quite similar to Mazda MX6
Body Shape, Design, and Size
Mazda MX6 was a 2-door mid-size sports car. It had a wheelbase of 99.0 inches and 102.8 inches in the first and second generations respectively.
Even though the Probe and the MX6 are both derived from the same mother plant, they have different exterior designs. Both are two-door sports cars with a low profile, but the dramatic and sporty Probe edges out the more sedate MX-6. The Probe GT sports grooved rocker panels and disguised headlamps, the MX6 GT blistered rear fenders, and a deck lid spoiler.
The most striking stylistic difference is best noticed inside the automobiles. The probe`s rear window is overly tilted. You not only compromise the rear view, but you also lose significant headroom in the back seat. The MX-6’s rear window is higher and more upright, reducing the risk of head and neck injuries for passengers. The hardware for the front passenger’s shoulder belt blocks access to the back seat, which is the only real downside.
The Mazda MX6 is slightly smaller than the Ford Probe. The Probe is 178.7 inches long, while the MX6 is 177.7 inches long. The Mazda is also narrower, with a width of 68.9 inches compared to the Probe’s width of 69.8 inches.
The base variant of the 2nd generation Mazda MX6 had a 2.0 Liter, 118 HP four-cylinder engine. While the upper variant, the LS version had a 164 HP engine.
Speaking of Ford Probe, GL was equipped with a 118 HP I4 engine. While the GT version had a 164 HP V6 engine. So, in terms of engine power, both cars look same on the paper.
The Ford Probe has a slightly higher fuel economy than the Mazda MX6, with 23 city/28 highway mpg compared to the Mazda’s 21 city/28 highway mpg.
|Mazda MX6||Ford Probe|
|Generations / Production year||1st Gen (1987-1992) 2nd Gen (1992-1997)||1st Gen (1988-1992) 2nd Gen (1993-1997)|
|Body, Shape||2-door coupe||2,3 – door Coupe/Convertible|
|Manufacturer||Mazda||Mazda & Ford|
|Engine Specs.||1st Gen (I4 110 HP) 2nd Gen (V6 164 HP)||1st Gen (I4 110 HP) 2nd Gen (V6 164 HP)|
|Fuel Economy||23 city/28 highway mpg||21 city/28 highway mpg|
|Wheelbase||102.8 inches||102.9 inches|
Pros and Cons of Buying Ford Probe
Now, let’s explore the pros and cons of buying a ford probe.
- Ford has stylish look and roomy interior. Its pop-up headlights are catchy.
- The Ford Probe is less expensive than the Mazda MX
- The Probe is available as a convertible, which is not an option with the MX
- The Mazda MX6 has a higher fuel economy than the Ford Probe.
- With very few years in production, it is an antique.
- Ford Probe`s rear window is overly tilted which affects the rear view.
- Ford Probe doesn’t have the electronic system and features that a modern car offers.
Pros and Cons of Buying Mazda MX6
Next, I have listed some pros and cons of the Mazda MX6.
- The smaller size of the Mazda MX6 makes it easier to park and maneuver in tight spaces.
- It is one of the cheapest sports car options.
- It has a lightweight frame.
- You can do any sort of modification experiment on the car.
- The MX6 is only available as a coupe, while the Probe is available as a convertible or coupe.
- Mazda can be compared in terms of features to other modern cars.
Which Car is the Best?
Based on the comparison of the two cars, it seems that the Mazda MX6 is the better choice. Though, the Ford Probe was built by the joint venture of two companies and was aimed to replace Mustang. However, the experiment failed.
On paper, most of the specifications of MX6 and probe are pretty much the same; engine power, design, and even parts are replaceable. However, in my opinion, and based on reviews of several car enthusiasts, Mazda MX6 is a better choice among these two sports coupes.
No matter which car you choose, you will surely have a blast driving experience with either Ford Probe or Mazda MX6!