Often overlooked, the 2018 Mazda6 Wagon is a shining beacon of value, refinement and driveability.
In a market swamped by uninspiring SUV’s, this midsize car offers both dynamics and space the others can’t. It’s also a bargain at $33,982.
Talk about a lot of car for your money. It feels like it’s worth twice the price.
Like the sedan it is based on, the 2018 Mazda6 Wagon is a reasonably familiar sight on Australian roads, for good reason
Mazda call it “Kodo Soul of Motion Design Language”. Call it what you like, the end result is a handsome, well-proportioned machine that has been sharpened for 2018
New LED light treatments to the front and rear, along with some very subtle styling tweaks give the new car a more polished edge.
It’s got an attractive rump that provides a big tailgate with a low lip for easy loading. It is attractive and functional.
The interior, even in base model form, is hard to go past.
Restrained and subtle, it has an air of quality not seen in a car with a sub $34k price-tag. The cloth-trimmed seats are beautifully comfortable.
The leather bound steering wheel and gear knob, all the switches and buttons, the indicator stalk – all feel substantial to the touch.
The infotainment system is a lesson to others. Wonderfully simple, the rotary dial and menu layout make it incredibly easy to use. It’s logical and just makes sense.
If you need a quiet space the Mazda’s cabin is it – even at 100km/h.
Whisper in hushed tones and your passengers will hear you. Mazda obviously trust their build quality, because a squeak or rattle in this cabin would be deafening.
There’s plenty of room inside, with reasonable rear leg room and a vast cargo area made incredibly big when you fold down the rear seats.
Up front, it’s cosy yet airy. Visibility is excellent from a brilliant driving position.
Ergonomically it is spot on, the cabin seems to wrap around you, presenting controls within easy reach of your fingertips.
You won’t believe what you get standard for less than $34k.
A full suite of active and passive safety systems (more about that later), 17 inch alloys, 8-Inch full colour touch screen, keyless entry and start, digital radio, automatic headlights with auto high-beam, rear parking sensors, rear camera, satellite navigation, Bluetooth and an active driving display.
All of that combined with faultless Japanese build quality and a 5-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.
Drive and Engine
Peppy and enthusiastic, the Mazda6 Sport Petrol provides reasonable performance around town.
The 2.5 litre in-line 4 cylinder 16 valve DOHC petrol with i-stop and i-ELOOP delivers 140kw and 252Nm.
The six-speed automatic is a great unit, even if it lacks a couple of gears compared to some competitors. It’s a smooth engine that doesn’t mind to rev. With enough input from the right foot, it punts along quite nicely.
It is impressive at the bowser, returning just under 9 litres per 100km after a week of suburban and city driving.
With the fattest tyres in the range, the base model provides the best ride of all the Mazda6’s.
And that’s really saying something, considering the range is the benchmark in the class for dynamics.
The way the Mazda6 Wagon remains so composed in corners is impressive. It’s sharp and pointy, yet still has an ability to be cossetting and gentle, minimising intrusion in the cabin from nasty roads.
It’s an enjoyable drive regardless of your intention, more than happy glide around gently, or to have a crack up a challenging road.
Again, the Mazda6 sets a benchmark, this time for safety.
The standard active safety suite is impressive: Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, High Beam Control, Lane-keep Assist System, Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Smart Brake Support and Smart City Brake Support Forward/Reverse.
One of the best active safety ideas is Traffic Sign Recognition and Intelligent Speed Assistance.
The speed limit is displayed prominently on the dash and changes colour should you exceed the limit. Keeps you safe and helps you keep all your license points.
ANCAP are fans of the Mazda6, awarding it the full 5-Star Rating. ANCAP crash tests produced encouraging results: side impact results were excellent, 16 out of 16, frontal offset test was 14.4 out of 16.
The only area where the Mazda didn’t do particularly well was pedestrian safety, with a score of 23.76 out of 36.
- Build quality
- Great handling
- Standard Features
Not So Good Bits
- No 8-Speed Auto available
- Limited rear leg room
While I’ve been an admirer of the Mazda6 for a long time, the newest version is undoubtedly the best.
Building on an already competent car, Mazda have crafted the 2018 Mazda6 into a car that is the benchmark in its class. And you get so much car for under $34k.
It’s a great performer that offers lots of space, but it’s because it is so refined, so well built, and such a pleasure to live with, that the Mazda6 is a cut above anything else available for the same money.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Mazda6 Sport Petrol Wagon
- Engine: 2.2L four-cylinder petrol producing 140kW/252Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic
- Warranty: 5 years/ unlimited km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $33,982