1 Feb 1983
Co-developed with Ford, Mazda changed direction with the 2nd generation 626.
The more modern approach included a transverse engine layout, front-wheel drive, 4-wheel independent suspension and the introduction of widespread electronics, which included digital instrumentation and driver-adjustable shock absorbers on some models.
Mostly everything improved, from comfort and cabin space to the handling and performance, although the all-new 70kW 2.0L 4-cylinder engine didn’t prove as durable as the old 626’s.
And the wedgy 2-door coupe and new 5-door hatchback models’ lower styling than the stately sedan’s meant headroom was tight. Offered were the sedan-only Standard, mid-range Deluxe sedan and hatch, and Super Deluxe and luxury SE sedan, hatch and coupe.
The former was a 4-speed manual only proposition, while the rest came with either a 5-speed manual or 3-speed auto.
In December 1983 the slow-selling 626 Deluxe Diesel sedan arrived, powered by a 47kW/119Nm 2.0L 4-cylinder engine. Ford’s version of this model 626 – which belatedly replaced the TF Cortina – was called the AR Telstar.
However no two-door Telstar model was ever sold in Australia.