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New Mazda6 wagon review

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    The new car is a dramatic improvement on the old in terms of looks.

Craig Duff road tests and reviews the Mazda6 wagon with specs, fuel economy and verdict.

Mazda6 Touring diesel wagon 4

Where there’s a will there’s a way and Mazda’s engineers have weighed in with one of the most willing diesel engines this side of a German badge. 

The “SkyActiv” mill in the Mazda6 uses sips like a society matron at a charity do yet manages to be the most entertaining-to-drive oilburner in this class. Package that with a slick six-speed auto and jam the lot into the best looking wagon in the mid-sized class and you have a winner.

VALUE

The price spread is from $41,650 to $50,960. That buys the diesel engine matched to a six-speed automatic and the best looks in the class. The wagon actually has a smaller wheelbase than the sedan and is a better-driving car for it.

The trade-off is marginally less rear legroom and a small-ish cargo area that, at 451 litres, is less than Ford Mondeo’s capacity.

TECHNOLOGY

The Mazda6 sits on the same platform as the CX-5 SUV and that’s not a bad thing. The suspension tune is biased for comfort rather than outright sportiness, so it’s a better drive 95 per cent of the time.

And the diesel donk is a ripper, accelerating hard right across the rev range, but happy to settle down to a low-rpm lope on the freeway. All 6s come with a kinetic energy recovery system dubbed i-eloop that drives the ancillaries and, with stop/start software, helps the diesel achieve 5.4L/100km.

DESIGN

The new car is a dramatic improvement on the old in terms of looks. The wagon’s sophisticated style is bound to turn heads and rear vision is less obscured than is often the case with load-luggers. Inside there are soft-touch plastics on the dash and doors, easy to read instruments and quality switchgear.

SAFETY

The body shell has been improved, the bonnet and front bumper are less likely to injure pedestrians and In-house testing shows the mid-sized Mazda has top marks for whiplash protection. That should ensure the new 6 beats the previous model’s five-star safety rating.

DRIVING

The wagon rides firmer than the sedan. That helps it ride flatter and faster through the corners but comes at the expense of outright comfort around town, where it tends to hit speed humps slightly harder. Either car is still very composed and capable of being punted at a serious pace.

The gearbox is as good as the engine, with enough smarts to upshift early under light accelerator loads or hang on to a gear if the right foot is buried. Used as family transport, I’d go for the sedan - the minor trade-off in load space is more than compensated by the extra 30mm of rear legroom.

The wagon will turn tighter though, at 11m compared to the sedan’s 11.2 and it makes an appreciable difference when negotiating carparks.

VERDICT

The Mazda6 hits the sweet spot. It is a premium wannabe with the aesthetics and athleticism to back up that aspiration. Go for the top-spec model and the Euro-esque comparison firms with adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning software. The only thing missing is a manual gearbox and that is our fault for refusing to buy cars with clutches in this class.


Mazda6 Touring diesel wagon

4 stars

Price: from $41,650
Warranty: 3 years/unlimited km
Resale: 54 per cent (3 years, Glass's Guide)
Service interval: 6 months/10,000km
Crash rating:  Not yet tested
Safety: 6 airbags, ABS, TC, ESC, EBD
Engine: 2.2L four-cylinder turbodiesel, 129kW/420Nm
Transmission: 6-speed auto, FWD
Dimensions: 4.8m (L), 1.84m (W), 1.48m (H)
Weight: 1561kg
Spare: Space-saver
Thirst:5.4L/100km, 141g/km CO2
 

RIVALS

imageFord Mondeo
Price
: from $37,340
Engine: 2.0L four-cylinder turbodiesel, 120kW/340Nm
Tranmission: Six-speed dual-clutch auto, FWD
Body: Five-door wagon
Thirst: 6.2L/100km, 165g/km CO2


 

second opinion

Ford Modeo - see other Mondeo verdicts

 

imageSkoda Octavia 103 TDI
Price: from $35,990 
Engine: 2.0L four-cylinder turbodiesel, 103kW/320Nm
Transmision: Six-speed manual, FWD
Body: Five-door wagon
Thirst: 5.1L/100km, 134g/km CO2


 

second opinion


Skoda Octavia - see other Octavia verdicts





imageHyundai i40 Tourer

Price: $34,490
Engine: 1.7L four-cylinder turbodiesel, 100kW/320Nm
Transmision: Six-speed manual, FWD
Body:  Five-door wagon
Thirst:  4.7L/100km, 124g/km CO2




second opinion
Hyundai i40 - see other i40 verdicts


 

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 6 comments

  • Hi all,
    Guilty as charged on the comparative cargo volumes _ I’m comparing apples with oranges on the VDA (wooden blocks) and SAE (maximum volume) dimensions. Apologies _ I’ll keep my fruit in separate bowls next time.

    Craig Duff Posted on 08 January 2013 10:00am
  • Craig, you can’t fairly compare the 451L volume of the Mazda6 to the Mondeo using Ford’s quoted 1005L figure alone. Yes, the Wagon area volume of the Mazda6 is smaller than the Mondeo, but not half the size as the Ford quoted figure is measuring a different area and using a different measurement standard. Ford are using SAE from the floor to the roof behind the rear seats for their 1005L. SAE calculates every little nook and cranny of area. Mazda are measuring from the floor to the bottom of the security blind (top of the back seat rests) to the VDA standard. VDA uses blocks of wood 200mm long that take up a litre of volume each block (very similar to 1L milk carton size), these are stacked in the area and then counted to get the volume. This method means there are some areas of the boot area that aren’t counted as the block won’t fit due to shape/size etc. These areas are included in a SAE figure. This can make quite a difference as for example the SAE figure for a Kia Sportage (floor to roof) is around 200L more than its VDA figure!

    Sydlocal Posted on 07 January 2013 6:43pm
  • Hi Craig, when comparing hatch area volumes you might want to compare apples with apples. The quoted figures between the two:
    a) use different methods of measurement, and
    b) are measuring different areas.
    I’ll explain.
    Ford’s 1005L measures the entire area behind the rear seat to the roof using the SAE standard that counts the entire volume including all nooks and crannies.
    Mazda’s 451L quoted figure is only the area underneath the retractable blind using the VDA standard which uses blocks of wood measuring 200x50x100mm which equate to 1L. They then fit as many of these blocks as possible in the ‘hatch’ area. The number of blocks that fit in the area give how many ‘litres’. This means there are some areas that are ‘empty’ and hence are not ‘measured’. Hence a VDA figure will always be less than the SAE figure of the same area of a car boot/hatch. This figure can differ by a lot depending on the shape of the boot/hatch eg the Kia Sportage VDA figure from floor to roof behind the seat is 200L less than it’s SAE figure!
    Having said this, the hatch area of the Mazda is still smaller than the Ford, but not less than half of the capacity like you said.

    Sydlocal Posted on 03 January 2013 6:16pm
  • Comon Carsguide, this is not a great review as far as reviews go. Starting with the fact you have only reviewed the diesel engine when even Mazda states they only expect the diesel to make up one third of sales. Second, you state that the Ford mondeo has over toice the cargo space? If you looked at the specs on the ford/mazda websites, they use different methods to measure this, so hardly a good comparison, Ford uses the SAE method (measures via pure volume in all nooks and all the way to the roof), where as Mazda measures using the VDA method which only measures usable space and only to the top of the back of the seats (not all way to roof). This review looks very copy paste, I hope you did not spend a lot of time on it, most of the information looks like it is directly from other reviews / the brochure. Also, the spare wheel is NOT a space saver for the AU market, it is a “Temporary”, meaning it is full size but only on a 16” rim not 17/19 depending on car spec.

    Please do your research better, k thanks

    RJC of Brisbane Posted on 03 January 2013 1:14pm
  • “cargo area that, at 451 litres, is less than half the Ford Mondeo’s capacity”

    After some quick research, Modeo’s boot capacity is measure by the SAE method while the 6 quotes the VDA method.  They are both methods of approximating realistic luggage capacity by filling the boot with blocks of known size(s) and hence volume(s).  The figures are different as they use different sized blocks, assumptions and limitations.

    Differences between the SAE and VDA capacities seem to be more marked for hatchback and wagons due to the “open” nature of the luggage compartment of such car types.  This would allow larger blocks (SAE) to sit above the “boot” line in “open” boots.  I think that VDA only allows blocks to be filled to the “boot” line up to the rearmost seat backs.

    So it would be quite unfair to say the 6 has less than half the luggage space of Mondeo given the quoted figures are measured using different methods.

    Anyways, I’ve always liked the 6 and the new one looks real nice, especially the wagon.  Considering replacing the Liberty GT with one of these…

    TS of Perth Posted on 03 January 2013 12:12pm
  • “cargo area that, at 451 litres, is less than half the Ford Mondeo’s capacity”

    What!?  Mondeo’s boot must be absolutely ginormous at over 902 litres!!!!

    TS of Perth Posted on 02 January 2013 8:04pm
Read all 6 comments

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