Mazda Capella Third Generation GC
|Production||1982 — 1987|
|Assembly||Hiroshima, Japan Hofu, Japan Bogotá, Colombia Auckland, New Zealand|
|Body style||2-door coupé 4-door sedan 5-door hatchback|
|Platform||Mazda GC platform|
|Engine||1.6 L F6 I4 1.8 L F8 I4 2.0 L FE I4 2.0 L FET turbo I4 2.0 L RF diesel I4|
|Transmission||5-speed manual 3/4-speed automatic|
|Wheelbase||98.8 in (2,510 mm)|
|Length||177.8 in (4,520 mm)|
|Related||Ford Telstar Kia Concord/Capital|
In September 1982 the third generation Capella was released using the new front-wheel-drive Mazda GC platform. As before, the international version was named the 626, with this version being named Import Car of the Year by Motor Trend magazine and Car of the Year by Wheels magazine for 1983. Sedan and coupé body styles were offered as before, with - due to demand - a five-door hatchback variant added. 1.6, 1.8, and 2.0 liter inline-fours were offered, with the 2.0 also available with a turbo and 145 PS (107 kW). In September 1983 a two-liter diesel was added to the lineup. In other regions including Finland, the 626 offered 101 hp (75 kW) with a twin barrel carburetor.
The rear suspension was now independent, and though the wheelbase remained the same as the previous model, it was an entirely different car. A SOHC non-turbo diesel 2.0 L RF 66 hp (49 kW) engine was made available; twenty examples were imported officially into Australia from 1983 to 1987. European markets also received a 1.6 L F6 80 hp (60 kW) engine.
Ford Asia Pacific (FASPAC) also sold the 626 as the Ford Telstar from July 1983 (complete with slightly different styling and dashboard) in place of the UK-sourced Sierra saloon, though Ford NZ did offer the Sierra wagon (in both 1.6 and 2.0 litre versions) from May 1984 after the long best-selling Cortina estate car was discontinued, in lieu of the Mazda's lack of an equivalent model. The coupé version was not offered.
Mazda New Zealand initially assembled 626 'short nose' 1.8-litre four-door sedan and a 'long nose' two-litre five-door model with a higher trim level including a digital instrument panel. A small number of two-door coupés were imported built-up from Japan. Laminated windscreens were now standard. A midlife facelift for the 1985 model year brought a completely new dashboard with orange digital LCD electronic displays in top models (in place of the earlier luminescent green) and the sedan now had the long nose and two-litre engine. Ford's Telstar received similar changes.
The new 2.0 L FE engine was up to 83 hp (62 kW) for the North American market, where the car received larger bumpers and sealed-beam headlights as per federal regulations. A 626 GT (also called the Turbo) was introduced in 1986 using the 120 hp (89 kW) and 150 lb·ft (200 N·m) FET engine. The rest of the line got a new front clip with dual (rather than quad) headlights and an entirely new interior, and fuel injection on the base engine meant 93 hp (69 kW). A new four-speed automatic was introduced for 1987, the last year of this series.
The GC continued in production in South Africa, where facelifted version was produced by Samcor, until 1993. The GD was not sold in South Africa, although it was assembled in neighbouring Zimbabwe.