Mazda 6 follows on from the 626, which in turn succeeded the 616/Capella/RX2 range in 1970. The current model began life in 2012.
There are 4 levels, 2 body shapes, 2 engines, and 1 transmission. Trim levels are: Sport, Touring, GT, and Atenza see gradual increases in the cool technology and safety features. You can select either a sedan or wagon, and chose either a turbo petrol or turbo diesel engine.
The exterior follows Mazda’s Kodo design philosophy.
There are four doors, and a coupe-like profile with flew straight lines except for the one at the waistline. The roof slopes down to meet it.
Active auto LED headlights bend as you steer around a bend, with more LED lighting across the rear end. There are 8 colours to choose from with the test car being Soul Red Crystal Metallic. It costs an extra $300
GT models come with 19” wheels, and a steel space-saver spare.
Supple cream Nappa leather covers comfortable heated/cooled front seats. Some models get rear seat heating.
What you see and touch feels soft and luxurious. There is more leather-look material on the dash and doors.
Front seats have 10 power adjustment for the driver, and 8 way for the passenger.
Instruments are well placed with controls on the steering wheel and centre console. Between them they fettle the menus. Although the LCD screen sitting tablet-style at the top of the centre stack is a touch screen, you will want to keep adjustments to those that can be made from the steering wheel.
The front passenger has a ton of room. Rear space isn’t quite as generous but 3 medium sized adults should fit, if they know each other very well.
If there is one fault, it is the bottle holders in the doors. They’re too small.
There are USB sockets front and back, and the rear seats fold down 60/40 accessed from inside the boot
The cabin design has aged well.
DAB comes standard but Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is a $500 extra. You can stream your music via Bluetooth or USB to superb Bose speakers. The sound, with controls set at neutral, is creamy and rich.
Dual zone climate control keeps things just so, and can be synced to driver’s side.
From the driver’s seat, you see information presented on the HUD. Navigation, audio, road signs (including stop signs) and distance information is there in front of you. You also get a blind spot warning there, and in the centre LCD in the driver’s instruments, and on the mirrors. Although the safety and technology is up to date, the interface feels a little old.
Drive and Engine
The 2.5L turbo engine is one of the upgrades Mazda 6 received on its midlife update. Power is now 170 kW @5,000rpm/420 Nm @2,000rpm. 7.6L/100k (combined) from 91ron or E10 sounds like roadtrip material to me. The 1607kg Mazda should just about manage a single tank driving to Brisbane or Melbourne from Sydney. There is a touch of torque steer from the front wheels drive under harsh acceleration.
Mazda says its 6-speed auto has special inbuilt technology that makes it more efficient, and although it is extremely smooth, it is way behind the 8, 9 and 10 speed autos in the opposition.
Mazda 6 is brilliant over bumps. It rides smoothly, and quietly. Steering points the frisky sedan where you want it to go. Cornering is competent, but even in sport mode, it is no sports car.
Instead, Mazda 6 gently wafts along. The cabin is reasonably quiet for such low-profile tyres on such big rims.
We drove in town, on highways, and dirt roads, where I slipped the Mazda 6 in to sport mode. It made the 2.5L slightly haughty. The 6 speed SkyDrive automatic then ignored the top 2 cogs to keep the smooth 4 cylinder singing, and ready to rocket out of corners. Gears changed as smoothly as before. The torque converter locks to give the engine a direct connection to the front wheels.
It feels solid, with control and grip that is predictable.
Mazda 6 gets a 5 star ANCAP rating and was tested in 2018. It got 95% for adult protection, 91% for chi8ld safety, 73% for safety assistance and 66% for vulnerable road user (ie: pedestrian and cyclist protection). Emergency autonomous braking works whether you’re forging onward, or going backwards.
Active cruise control, active lane control steer, warn, or brake to make sure you don’t go where you shouldn’t, and clever LED headlamps turn with the steering wheel. Blind spot monitor includes rear cross traffic alert and is as handy in a Bunnings car park as it is on the highway.
- AEB forward and reverse
- Traffic sign recognition
- Radar cruise control
- Rear cross traffic alert
- Blind Spot Monitor
- Stylish inside and out
- Safety Technology
The Not so Good:
- Apple CarPlay not standard
- Aging infotainment interface
- Rear seat release in boot came loose
Mazda 6 is value for money. With a few little changes here and there, it would be best in class. I’d like to see CarPlay standard, and the infotainment interface needs updating. A GT car should be able to travel a thousand kilometres leaving the occupants fresh and happy. While I didn’t do that, I certainly wanted to.
Mazda 6 was designed for up to 5 people to be transported smoothly, quietly, and comfortably. It does exactly what is says on the box. It overdelivers on looks inside and out and has all the mod cons. It isn’t blingy, but then who wants to have bling anyway.
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Facts and Figures: 2019 Mazda 6 GT Sedan
- Engine: 2.5L 4 cylinder turbo Petrol producing 170kW/420Nm
- Transmission: 6 Sp SkyActive-Drive automatic, front wheel drive
- Warranty: 5 Yrs. / Unlimited km Roadside Assist
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $44,990 MLP *
*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.