The design team of the new generation Mazda6 in Hiroshima, Japan, have given the vehicle a complete makeover.
First launched in 2002, the new Mazda6 range comes in four derivatives - 2.0-litre Original (R219990), 2.0-litre Active (R239990), 2.5-litre Dynamic Activematic (R271990) and the top end 2.5-litre Individual (R278990).
The most significant change comes under the bonnet in the 2.5-litre Dynamic and Individual.
Previously powered by a 2.3-litre engine, the 2.5-litre 16-valve DOHC (Double Overhead Camshaft) produces an impressive 126kW and 228Nm (top speed 220 km/h).
The interior and exterior have also undergone a number of changes.
Boot spoiler, new rounded design lines, completely new front grille, sporty fog lights and Dynamic Stability Control, and a sunroof have all become standard with the Individual.
The result? A bold, sporty-looking sedan that is sure to appeal to plenty of motorists.
In terms of size, the vehicle range has increased in all areas - height, length and width - except for weight, which has been reduced by using a combination of lightweight engine parts and aerodynamic improvements.
Hence you have a vehicle that produces a very credible 8.1 litres/100km fuel consumption for the Individual (7.0 litres/100km for the 2,0 litre models).
On offer at the media launch - held last week in the Natal Midlands - was the 2.0 Active and 2.5 Individual.
IFirst up we got behind the wheel of the top-of-the-range Individual.
Leather seats, sunroof, Bose sound system, twin exhaust pipes, a keyless start/stop button and a whole host of gadgets provided for a spirited ride.
Pushing the car through the challenging twists of the Midlands, the Mazda6 proved up to the task and hugged the road with no side movement at all.
The instrument panel is nicely laid out and the leather six-speed gear knob is a pleasure to use.
Cruise control and sound control are a finger-tip away on the leather steering wheel.
The Mazda6 is no doubt a family-orientated vehicle. Plenty of legroom in the back, plus a whopping 519-litre boot, will ensure weekends away are a breeze.
Next was a short time behind the wheel of the 2.0-litre Active.
Although quite a bit smaller engine wise (109kW, 184Nm, top speed 212km/h) than its sibling, the Active is a very capable vehicle.
It might lack a few of the accessories of the Individual, but still it was an excellent ride with the assurance that Japanese manufacturers are renowned for.
Service intervals are 15000km, four-year/120000km warranty, as well as a five-year/90000km service plan.
A three-year roadside assistance plan comes standard with the purchase of any Mazda vehicle.