Volkswagen Passat sedan and wagon 2015 review
Paul Gover road tests and reviews the Volkswagen Passat sedan and wagon with specs, fuel consumption and verdict at its Australian launch.
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When I was 15 there was this bloke in my year at school – let’s call him Brad – who was really good at everything. He was awesome at handball, breakdancing, computers, visual art, debating, the 100m sprint, maths, girls and piano. Everybody liked him, but I hated Brad. I wanted to be Brad. I’d forgotten all about him until I drove the updated Mazda6 wagon in Touring specification, because it’s the Brad of cars.
The update to the Mazda6 came in February, 2016 and brought a suite of advanced safety technology. It’s just another amazing thing that Brad, sorry – the Mazda6 – can do. Plus there was no increase in price.
Our wagon in Touring trim had the 2.5-litre petrol engine and costs $38,590. That’s only one rung up from the base model in a range that kicks off at $32,490 for the Sedan in Sport specification and tops out at $49,540 for the diesel wagon in Atenza trim.
This generation of the Mazda6 came out in 2012 and it has aged incredibly well in the looks department. That big, bold grille and long, broad nose lead to a sleek and muscular body with sharp character lines.
The wagon accentuates this flowing look even more with its sleek profile and coupe styling. Frankly, it’s beautiful.
There is a small case of form over function though in some places. That sloping roofline also means the rear door opening narrows. This made getting my 14-month-old child in and out of his car seat tricky with a stack of bending while trying to ensure we didn’t scone his head on the way in.
The cabin is exceptional for a car at this price and end of the market – it’s stylish with a high build quality and comfortable. The Touring trim brings leather seats making the cockpit even more special. Those seats are supportive, with a low hip point for an excellent driving position.
Rear seat comfort is also good – I’m bang-on 6ft 3 and headroom back there is excellent, although my knees are snug behind the driver’s seat after I’ve climbed out.
Boot size isn’t bad at 506 litres (VDA), in comparison the Skoda Octavia wagon has a 588 (VDA) but it is 140mm longer overall. That said the Mazda ate the CarsGuide pram easily and everything else that goes with an weekend expedition to the zoo.
All doors have bottle holders and there’s two cupholders up front and another two in the fold-down armrest in back.
The safety tech upgrade is a lifesaver – no literally it really is. There were several times when it came to my rescue. Such as backing out of a mate’s driveway onto a notoriously busy road.
With a child in the back you’re putting them in the line of fire before yourself when reversing onto a main road and it gets even more dangerous when your vision obscured by parked cars. The rear cross traffic alert looks up and down the street and will tell you when it’s safe to go – it’s nothing short of amazing, although it would be even better if it could give you more warning than the moment the approaching car is almost on top of you. It works even better in carparks – where vehicles are moving slower.
The safety upgrade also includes blind spot monitoring – another excellent warning system – especially for those of us who start to change lanes before looking. Part of the new standard safety package is AEB, too, which will bring the car to a halt to prevent a collision and works whether you’re moving forward or reversing.
The Touring is the sweet spot in the Mazda6 range in terms of value for money. The list of stand features is long but the standouts are the seven-inch touch screen with reversing camera and satnav, front and rear parking sensors, power front seats, 11-speaker Bose sound system, plus LED headlights, fog lamps and DRLs.
One thing that’s missing on the Touring grade is proximity unlocking – I’d trade all the Bose speakers and LED lights in the world just so I didn’t have to unlock the doors myself with the key fob.
Along with the additional safety gear there’s traction and stability control, ABS, EBD, three top tether anchor points for childseats and three ISOFIX points. ANCAP gives the Mazda6 wagon a five-star crash test rating.
The Mazda6 is effortless to drive – it’s quiet and the ride is comfortable even on Sydney’s crater-riddled roads.
In that long nose is a 2.5-litre four cylinder petrol engine – there’s no turbo and to me that’s a good thing because the power is delivered smoothly and with 138kW and 240Nm, there’s plenty oomph. It would be good to have more power though, especially when you’re full of holiday cargo and family.
When I ditched the family I pushed the wagon through twisty corners and it showed off its good handling. Sure, it doesn’t have the capability of a Holden Commodore SS-V Redline Sportwagon, but it’s impressively dynamic.
The 6 is a front-wheel drive car and I did notice a small amount of slip under hard acceleration from a standstill, but the traction control sweeps in quickly to fix that.
There isn’t a manual gearbox available but the six-speed auto is seamless – the gear shifts (when not in Sport mode) are almost imperceptible. The fuel consumption we saw was excellent too at 6.8L/100km.
The Mazda6 wagon in the Touring spec is hard to fault – the value for money at $38,590 is excellent and the advanced safety kit makes this value proposition even better. It’s a smooth operator with a comfortable ride and handling that makes it so much fun to drive. The extra cargo area the boot offers is good – though a bit of practicality is lost due to form over function. But it looks beautiful – Maserati could whack a badge on it and sell it for $100,000 more. As I said – it’s the Brad of cars. Sorry, Brad.
New advanced safety technology including Rear Cross Traffic Alert, blind spot warning, and auto braking.
Proximity unlocking, manual gearbox
|Atenza||2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$24,990 – 34,888||2016 Mazda 6 2016 Atenza Pricing and Specs|
|GT||2.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$22,934 – 31,850||2016 Mazda 6 2016 GT Pricing and Specs|
|GT Safety||2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$26,510 – 32,780||2016 Mazda 6 2016 GT Safety Pricing and Specs|
|Sport||2.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$18,977 – 26,990||2016 Mazda 6 2016 Sport Pricing and Specs|