Mazda 6

If there was a spectrum of fun versus practicality for auto brands, Mazda traditionally lies somewhere towards the former – prioritising fun over practicality while still offering enough of the latter to avoid complete uncertainty.

The current generation Mazda6 was launched late 2012, earning high acclaim worldwide, a 2013 top three finalist for World Car Design of Year.

Mazda 6

Will new Mazda6 carry on that lineage? It recently had some light revisions that keep it fresh in facing rivals such as Subaru Liberty, Toyota Camry, Volkswagen Passat, Ford Mondeo, Hyundai i40 and Hyundai Sonata. Fresh styling and addition of an array of new safety and convenience features should keep ahead of the pack.

Inspired by the Japanese carmaker’s “KODO: Soul of Motion” design philosophy, the Mazda6 is a work of art and this facelift plays to the car’s strength.

The restyled front grille fins with signature chrome wing design build on the already sleek look, with new LED headlamps and daytime running lights. Side mirrors have been redesigned, include indicators and are auto folding.

These additions combine with swooping front wings, arching roofline and high-set tail to give the car a more dynamic, stylish, stand out look.

Whilst much the same from the outside, the interior has undergone design refinement to now is more elegant, functional and upmarket. Thicker windows and better sealing mean more silence inside.

Conventional stereo display with knobs and buttons made way for a tablet-like 7-inch colour touch screen, higher up, taking pride of place on a sleeker dashboard.

Said display houses the same MZD Connect multimedia system seen in the Mazda2 and Mazda3, user-friendly with its easily accessed functions and bright, clear graphics.

Driving position is almost spot-on, but shorter drivers will need to adjust the seat to fully view another new feature – a head-up display.

My test car was the premium 2.5-litre Atenza, producing 138kW power and 250Nm torque. It supplies plenty of punch across its smooth rev range.

The six-speed automatic continues to be the star of the show, and pretty much perfects the way it intuitively grabs gears to keep the 1,513kg sedan on the ball. There is also a “Sport” mode for the auto now that keeps the engine revving harder.

The engine can sound a little raucous when revved hard.

The new G-Vectoring technology performs very quick, unnoticeably minute engine torque reduction and resumption operations whenever the steering wheel moves, seesawing extra downforce between front and rear wheels, to improve grip, traction, handling and driving smoothness. This is to be introduced across Mazda's range.

Also, regenerative braking stores braking energy in capacitors, then helps power the car's electrics, reducing fuel use as in electric cars.

Apart from that, Mazda has taken the opportunity to introduce advanced active safety technology usually found in premium cars, such as Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Departure Warning, which gently nudges the steering wheel on detecting the car wandering out of lane, and Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), greatly enhancing driving safety.

As before, the electric power assisted steering remains largely direct and enjoyable, and is quick and well-weighted, providing decent driver feedback.

Suspension setup is notably softer, better suppressing the effect of large imperfections and dealing with rapid road surface changes.

Whilst the changes have added a new dimension to the Mazda6, they have not upset its sharp responses or light-footed demeanour. Around bends the car handles very well and feels eager to change direction, with the nimble feel of a smaller-sized car.

Mazda's improvements to its mid-sized sedan have stepped up levels of luxury and refinement to another level, making the new Mazda6, especially the premium Atenza, almost appear like a packed German sedan, for much less, which is apparently what Mazda had in mind!

Looking at the advanced technology, punchy engine, competitive dynamics, improved refinement and higher quality interior, I believe I see where Mazda6 is headed for generations to come. Well done …..Mazda.

  • Max power: 138 kW at 5,700 rpm
  • Max torque: 250 Nm at 3,250 rpm
  • Fuel grade: Unleaded Petrol
  • Fuel consumption: 6.6-litres / 100 km
  • Transmission: 6-speed Auto SKYACTIV  FWD
  • Fuel Tank:  62 litres
  • Sedan 2.5L Petrol
    Sport $32,490*(plus on road cost)
    Touring $37,290*(plus on road cost)
    GT $42,690*(plus on road cost)
    Atenza $45,390*(pus on road cost)
  • Sedan 2.2L Diesel
    Touring $40,140*(plus on road cost)
    GT $45,540*(plus on road cost)
    Atenza $48,240*(plus on road cost)
  • Wagon 2.5L Petrol
    Sport $33,790*(plus on road cost)
    Touring $38,590*(plus on road cost)
    GT $43,990*(plus on road cost)
    Atenza $46,690*(plus on road cost)
  • Wagon 2.2L Diesel
    Touring $41,440*(plus on road cost)
    GT $46,840*(plus on road cost)
    Atenza $49,540*(plus on road cost)
Soul Red Metallic / Machine Grey Metallic price premium $250
3 years /unlimited km