The redesigned Mazda 626 was introduced in 1998, offering a more modern body style, a beefed up engine and increased cargo and passenger capacity, while still exuding the signature Mazda flavor. There were no major changes for 1999, following the redesign the year prior. For 2000, the 626 got updates that improved the handling and that updated the interior style. In 2001, a new audio system was added, child safety seat anchors came standard (in the rear bench), as did an emergency trunk release handle. EZ-Kool glass was added across the entire Mazda lineup, and side-impact airbags were offered as an option. Various tweaks were made to different trim levels and options for 2002, marking the only changes for that model year.