Mazda 6 has grown ever larger with each new model and is now similar in size to Toyota Camry and its six-cylinder brother the Aurion. Indeed it’s not all that far short of Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon in its length, though the Mazda is noticeably narrower than the Aussie cars due to tax regulations in its home country.
This time around the Mazda6 is only being sold as a four-door sedan and a five-door station wagon, a hatchback is missing from the range. Prices start from $33,460 for the 2.5-litre petrol sedan.
Power is provided by Mazda’s SkyActiv petrol or diesel four-cylinder engines. The petrol has a capacity of 2.5 litres and produces 138 kilowatts of power and 250 Newton metres of torque. It has been slightly detuned so it can run on 91 octane petrol rather than the more energy efficient 95 octane petrol. However, it works pretty well and few will notice any loss in power.
The problem here is that oil companies seldom discount super unleaded so the lower fuel consumption it provides is more than cancelled out by the higher price. Oh for some common sense in the fuel industry, after all the less fuel we use the less CO2 is emitted.
The turbo-diesel is a 2-2-litre unit and its peak outputs are 129 kW and 420 Nm. We really love these Mazda SkyActiv diesels for their wide spread of strong torque. The fact that they rev to 5500 rpm instead of starting to fade at about 4200 revs, as is the way in conventional diesels, make these the first turbo-diesel units that will actually appeal to revhead drivers.
The big new Mazda6 has standout frontal styling, using Mazda’s so-called Kudo design theme with a huge grille that blends into the upper edges of the headlights in swooping curves. This is the first Mazda sold in Australian with Kudo design and full SkyActiv powertrains.
In keeping with the stunning looks of the body, the interior also has a futuristic style and has a quality look and feel that will appeal to buyers looking for an affordable upmarket car.
The growth has resulted in very good interior room, especially in the back seat of the sedan, which can cope with two large adults, making it a genuine family car by Australian standards. Three kids and their parents will find the Mazda6 providing stretch out room.
The only letdown is the use of a full-sized spare wheel in place of the space-saver for which the sedan’s boot floor has obviously been designed. Very few Australian drivers ever make huge country trips in their cars these days, so really don’t need a large spare. But a vocal minority has made a fuss and some car makers have bowed to the pressure.
A saving grace in the luggage space is the length of the boot and the fact that the backrests can be conveniently folded flat using levers that can be reached easily from the back of the car. The seatback’s 60/40 split means you can carry four people plus a fair amount of luggage, or three and even more cargo.
Oddly, the station wagon has less rear seat legroom as it has a shorter wheelbase and the passenger / luggage compromise leans in the direction of the latter. Japanese people tend to turn their noses up at station wagons, regarding them as load carriers with less social status than sedans.
New to the model is a range of crash avoidance technologies offered in the topline models. These include radar cruise control, forward obstruction warning, lane departure indication and rear danger warning.
Given Mazda Australia’s longterm focus on safety it’s pleasing to see this emphasis on primary safety. A full suite of secondary safety features ensures the Mazda6 gains top markets in crash tests.
Standout look of the all-new Mazda6 seems sure to attract buyers.
The complete Mazda6 range is:
Sport 2.5-litre petrol four-door sedan: $33,460 (automatic)
Touring 2.5-litre petrol four-door sedan: $37,500 (automatic)
GT 2.5-litre petrol four-door sedan: $43,220 (automatic)
Atenza 2.5-litre petrol four-door sedan: $46,810 (automatic)
Touring 2.2-litre diesel four-door sedan: $40,350 (automatic)
GT 2.2-litre diesel four-door sedan: $46,070 (automatic)
Atenza 2.2-litre diesel four-door sedan: $49,660 (automatic)
Sport 2.5-litre petrol five-door wagon: $34,760 (automatic)
Touring 2.5-litre petrol five-door wagon: $38,800 (automatic)
GT 2.5-litre petrol five-door wagon: $44,520 (automatic)
Atenza 2.5-litre petrol five-door wagon: $48,110 (automatic)
Touring 2.2-litre diesel five-door wagon: $41,650 (automatic)
GT 2.2-litre diesel five-door wagon: $47,370 (automatic)
Atenza 2.2-litre diesel five-door wagon: $50,960 (automatic)
Price: from $33,460
Warranty: 3 years/unlimited km
Resale: 54% (outgoing model, Source: Glass's Guide)
Service interval: 10,000km/6 months
Safety rating: five stars (outgoing model)
Engine: 138kW/250Nm 2.5-litre 16-valve DOHC 4-cyl; 129kW/420Nm 2.2-litre 16-valve DOHC intercooled turbodiesel 4-cyl
Transmission: 6-speed auto; FWD
Body: 4.8m (L); 1.8m (w); 1.5m (h)
Thirst: 5.4-6.6 1/100km, tank 62 litres; 155-141g/km CO2