Meet the safer, sleeker, more powerful Mazda 6
The mid-sized segment is steadily shrinking as buyers flock to SUVs but car makers haven’t given up on this most traditional of automotive blueprints quite yet.
In the past year, Toyota has introduced the most compelling Camry yet, while Hyundai’s Sonata, Kia’s Optima and Subaru’s Liberty have all been treated to once-overs.
Mazda, too, has been tinkering with its popular 6 sedan and wagon and new versions are now available. Here’s the low down.
Will I see it coming?
Not if you’re expecting a wholesale makeover because the new 6 looks more than a little similar to the old one. But the grille, wheels, bumpers, tail-lights and other details have been massaged, giving this already elegant, attractive mid-sizer a more squat, purposeful vibe.
How does it go?
This is where the action’s at, with upper level GT and Atenza petrol models picking up a new 170kW 2.5-litre turbo engine lifted from Mazda’s CX-9 SUV. Instead of needing to be worked hard for optimum response like 2.5-litre non-turbo models – and making plenty of noise doing so – they simply hunker down and go without fuss or fanfare while still being respectably light on the fuel. The 2.5-litre non-turbo petrol engine continues at the bottom of the range with minor updates, while the 2.2-litre diesel-engine option has acquired detail changes for improved performance and economy.
How does it drive?
The 6 has a reputation for being on the noisy side but Mazda has made real strides with this new one. Along with the less vocal engine, it’s received a raft of enhancements that have noticeably reduced on-road noise. Detail steering and suspension tweaks, meanwhile, make an already sweet ride/handling combo just that little bit more so.
Is it roomy enough?
Perhaps not if you’re looking for the kind of large-car rear legroom offered by a Camry, Sonata or Optima. Those not in the habit of transporting basketballers in the back, however, have little to complain about, and it also throws in a decent-sized boot and handy wagon option. Massaged styling, more upmarket materials, new seats and other advances mean the cabin is slicker and more comfortable as well.
What technology does it have?
Mazda has beefed-up the 6’s safety and even the cheapest model flaunts driver aids such as autonomous emergency braking and active cruise control with stop-and-go (the latter can stop and start the car in traffic, not just slow and accelerate on the highway). The new 6 introduces gizmos such as a surround-view camera and ventilated seats to the franchise. Like many recent Mazdas, it can be retrofitted with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, albeit for a $500 premium.
The entry-level 6 Sport petrol sedan starts from $32,490, while a topline Atenza wagon with the diesel-engine option kicks off from $50,090. Touring and GT trims fill the gap. Like all Mazdas, it’s covered by a five-year warranty and five-year/50,000km capped-price servicing deal.
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