1 Nov 1999
Stung by critics calling it Mazda’s Camry, the Japanese company attempted to alleviate the 626’s conservative visage with a bolder nose featuring a new bonnet, headlights, bumpers, grille, tail-lights and rear garnish, revised interior trim and redesigned wheels.
The range was reduced to Limited and Classic designations, both auto and manual gearboxes received detailed improvements, remote central locking became standard and noise conduits were quelled to improve refinement.
Several steering and suspension modifications also improved the 626’s handling and ride properties.
In August 2000 the 626 Limited Edition sedan and hatch arrived, followed by a Platinum Edition in July ’01, with the 626 Eclipse resurrected in early ’02 in order to keep sales moving until the all-new, far more successful Mazda 6 replacement arrived in August ’02.