Skoda Superb Sportline wagon 2017 review
Tim Robson road tests and reviews the new Skoda Superb SportLine wagon with specs, fuel consumption and verdict at its Australian launch in Sydney.
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So, you’re thinking about a wagon? Wow, you’d be one of the very few people left in the world yet to be convinced that SUVs are the answer to everything. That’s what I like about you; you’ve always been your own person, sticking to your guns, not following the crowd.
Problem is, most car makers do follow the crowd. Because crowds equal money. And because everybody has gone crazy for SUVs, the manufacturers have given them what they want. And mostly that means no more wagons.
So, is a model that’s been around almost six years starting to show its age? And is that boot going to be big enough? I found out when the Mazda6 GT wagon came to live with my family for a week.
|Mazda 6 2017: GT|
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
The Mazda6 sedan is a good-looking car, and even as a wagon it’s appealing, with that sloping roofline, those curvaceous wheel arches and long bonnet. The shape isn’t new either – sure there have been updates, but this model came out in 2012 and it doesn’t look out of date.
Can you tell it’s a GT from the outside? No. Well yes, but only by the wheels and headlamps – the GT has 19-inch alloy wheels and LED headlights, but so does the top-of-the-range Atenza.
Inside, the Mazda6 GT wagon’s stylish cabin has a premium feel with leather seats and an excellent fit and finish. All the touch points throughout the cockpit are soft or padded, and all the controls, from the paddle shifters to the climate buttons, are perfectly placed and feel refined.
How long is the Mazda6 wagon? It might not look like it, but the wagon is shorter end-to-end than the sedan. The dimensions don’t lie; the wagon is 4800mm long, the sedan is 4865mm.
Compared to its rivals, the Mazda6 wagon is 110mm longer than the Subaru Levorg and 33mm longer than the Passat wagon, but 71mm shorter than the Mondeo wagon and 61mm shorter than the Superb wagon.
Don’t be fooled, though, longer doesn’t mean it has a bigger cargo area - all will be revealed in the practicality section below.
Nobody buys a wagon by accident. You get a wagon because you’ve preempted regular situations when you’re going to have to carry stuff. Lots of stuff. Wagons are basically utes with a roof for people that don’t get dirty.
So not much point in getting a wagon if the cargo capacity doesn’t meet your requirements. The Mazda6 wagon has 506 litres of boot space, while the sedan version has 474 litres. Yes, that sounds like the wagon is small, but the big hatch opening and being able to fold the seats down opens up a 1648-litre cargo area.
The Passat wagon isn’t as long as the Mazda6 wagon, but its cargo capacity is 650 litres, or 1780 litres with the seats folded flat. The Superb has an enormous 660 litres or 1950 litres with the second row folded. The Levorg’s cargo area is smaller than the Mazda’s, with 489 litres, and so is the Mondeo’s, with 488 litres.
Cabin storage is good with two cup holders up front and two in the back. There’s also a large centre console storage bin and bottle holders in the doors, too.
As for humans, I’m one of those (but a tall one at 191cm) and I can sit behind my driving position with about 20mm of space. Headroom is also good back there.
The Mazda6 wagon’s coupe styling looks great, but the rear door opening is smaller because of it and I noticed this meant bending more to put my toddler into his car seat.
The Mazda6 wagon comes in three trim levels with a choice of two engines – a diesel or, in the case of our test car, a petrol engine. The GT grade we tested is the rung down from the top-spec Atenza and lists for $43,990, which is about $10K more than the Sport entry variant.
The GT comes with bucket loads of standard features. There’s a seven-inch touch screen with nav, an 11-speaker Bose stereo system, digital radio, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, paddle shifters, push-button start, LED headlights and tailights, and roof rails.
Keep in mind that you’ll get all those same features on the Touring grade, too, only for about $5K less.
All the GT adds is 19-inch alloy wheels, sunroof, heated front and rear seats, head-up display, adaptive headlights and a proximity key. Really, the best thing in this list is the proximity key – a feature you can’t option on any of the other grades.
For the same amount of money (actually $500 less) you could buy a Volkswagen Passat 132 TSI Comfortline, which is superb, or for $2K less there’s the actual Skoda Superb 162TSI in wagon form, which has a cracker of an engine and clever features, or there’s the Ford Mondeo Ambiente wagon for a smidge over $35,000 (there's a diesel Mondeo wagon in the Trend spec for $42,840, too).
That makes the decision a bit harder, doesn’t it? Well, it’s a good problem to have.
The Mazda6 wagon doesn’t have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto; there are people that are now making a decision to buy a car based on the presence of these apps.
The Mazda6 GT wagon is available with a diesel or the 2.5-litre petrol engine which was in our test car. Producing 138kW of power and 250Nm of torque, the engine is smooth, quiet and has plenty of oomph.
This is a front-wheel-drive car and the transmission is a six-speed automatic.
Mazda says the wagon with the 2.5-litre petrol engine and six-speed auto should use 6.6L/100km when driven on a combo of urban, country and city roads. Our car spent most of its life with us in the city and our trip computer was saying we were averaging 10.2L/100km.
Mazda’s ‘thing’ is making cars that are fun to drive – the company takes this seriously, and when a new car is launched they devote a lot of time explaining the pains they went to in making the car engaging to pilot.
And the effort seems to pay off; Mazdas really are good to drive, and the Mazda6 is no exception.
Steering is smooth, well-weighted and accurate, the engine is responsive and has a sport mode (which is actually sporty), and the six-speed auto gets the drive to those front wheels well. There were times, though, that the front wheels would lose traction - especially from a standing start on a hill.
Handling is good and the ride is comfortable, too. Although the lower profile tyres on the GT grade (225/45 R19) do mean you’ll feel the bumps and cracks in the road more than the thicker-walled tyres on the lower grades.
And finally, a wagon will almost always be better to drive than an SUV, and that's because it has a lower centre of mass and that gives it superior handling. Just like a car. Because that's what it is.
3 years / unlimited km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
There’s three top tether points and three ISOFIX points across the second row.
The Mazda6 wagon is covered by Mazda’s three-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty. Servicing is recommended every 12 months or 10,000km and is capped at $305 for the first service, $333 for the second, $305 for the next, then $333 and back to $305.
The Mazda6 GT wagon looks stunning and is great to drive, but it doesn’t have the cargo capacity of rivals such as the Passat and Superb. As for the GT grade, I’d be looking at the Touring instead – it’s about $5K less and you’re only really missing out on the proximity key, which is great, but not $5K great. Good on you for considering a wagon, too. It’s the thinking person's alternative to an SUV.
|Atenza||2.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$29,777 – 33,888||2017 MAZDA 6 2017 Atenza Pricing and Specs|
|GT||2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$29,977 – 32,888||2017 MAZDA 6 2017 GT Pricing and Specs|
|Sport||2.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$23,777 – 24,990||2017 MAZDA 6 2017 Sport Pricing and Specs|
|Touring||2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$23,778 – 32,999||2017 MAZDA 6 2017 Touring Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||7|
|Engine & trans||7|