And these differences usually affect certain areas of the exterior of the vehicle such as the front fascia, some added trims here and there or even a new and improved entertainment system.
The purpose of such an exercise is to refresh a model which has been around for a few years while waiting for the all-new replacement model to appear in the near future.
The Mazda6 sedan underwent such a facelift recently.
Again, the changes to the exterior are subtle; it’s hard to tell the difference with its restyled headlights, bumper, grille slats and chrome accents around the LED fog lights ... until you get inside the car.
That’s where the subtleties end.
The dashboard and centre console got a complete cosmetic makeover which makes the interior of the facelifted Mazda6 a modern and elegant space.
The dashboard has a leaner design compared to the previous dash as the centre display screen is now free-standing instead of being housed as part of the dashboard.
The air-cond vents below the seven-inch centre display has a brushed aluminium-like trapezoidal housing which gives it a sleek look.
It’s also very neat and symmetrical with the layout of the dual climate controls.
The shift lever has also undergone a change as it is beefier and broader than the previous incarnation which gives it a more premium feel to it. You will also find the dedicated knurled Sport mode switch beside it.
What’s also new to the facelifted Mazda6 is the MZD Connect infotainment system with a control dial and an array of buttons around it.
This feature was already present in the Mazda3 and Mazda2, and it provides controls for audio, navigation, and the handsfree telephone service.
The review unit was the top-of-the-range Mazda6 2.5-litre sedan (a 2.0L variant and a 2.5L Touring hatch is also available) which is fully imported and has a bit more kit than the 2.0L such as a sunroof, a Bose soundsystem with 11 speakers, Bi-Xenon headlamps, 19-inch wheels, i-Eloop Regenerative Braking System and the i-Activesense safety package featuring Smart City Brake Support, Rear Vehicle Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning System, High Beam Control System and Adaptive Front Lighting System.
For a car that was launched in 2013 and introduced Malaysians to Mazda’s Kodo - Soul of Motion design philosophy and its breakthrough Skyactiv Technology which balances driving pleasure and fuel efficiency, the Mazda6 sedan remains relevant and offers a host of technological features comparable to higher-end European marques.
The facelifted Mazda6 only goes to show how far Mazda has come in terms of design.
The slight changes made to the exterior is tasteful and the re-invigorated interior has only elavated its aesthetic appeal.
And for that we have to congratulate Mazda.
This isn’t a facelift just for the sake of it but it focused its major efforts precisely on the area which would benefit the most through an update, in this case the dashboard.
As for the car itself, it already has an exciting design which has a broad appeal which can’t be said about all sedans.
The Mazda6’s stance is athletic; it‘s got curves in all the right places, and offers plenty of space for occupants and storage - the wheelbase is 2,830mm and the boot space is 489 litres.
The 2.5L variant has a power output of 185hp at 5,700rpm and a low-end grunt of 250Nm at 3,250rpm, channeled via a six-speed Skyactiv Drive automatic transmission.
Being in the driver’s seat of the Mazda6 is quite exhilarating because it feels closer to a cockpit with the Head Up Display (HUD) which provides information on speed and directions from the navigation system.
The car offers smooth acceleration and the steering has good feedback.
And if you’re the type who likes spirited driving, the Mazda6 will definitely put a smile on your face.
Turn on the Sport mode and the exhaust note gets throatier but not loud enough to be overwhelmed by it.
Plus, there are paddle shifters to manually change gears and the car gives you the confidence to drive at higher speeds thanks to its rigid chassis and responsive steering.
The fully imported Mazda6 2.5 is priced at RM200,343 (on-the-road with insurance) and has four colours to choose from: Soul Red Metallic, Snowflake White Pearl, Meteor Grey and Sonic Silver Metallic.