New Mazda6 sets down benchmark for large family saloon and estates
Mazda are finally starting to believe their own PR. Not only is their all-new 6 bigger, bolder and better than the predecessor – it's gone up-market to prove it.
Yes, the Japanese marque's flagship model has had a radical redesign but has also had very subtle yet significant changes inside which scream premium.
The name on this load-lugger is a prime example.
What you see before you is no estate or indeed station wagon.
No sir, the gargantuan family car pictured right will be known from this day forth as – the Mazda6 Tourer.
Now, in order to gain access to this exclusive country club, you gotta look the part and the attention to detail is vital.
Simple accessories like the 17-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass in the rear and the twin chrome exhausts add that necessary touch of class needed to cut it in this end of the market.
In fact, so confident are Mazda in this new bus, they've scrapped the hatchback model and have laid the new offering out as “the benchmark on the large family car segment”.
A bold statement indeed, but is this just more marketing guff?
Coming from anyone else and I'd probably dismiss it immediately, but Mazda is the best kept secret in the automotive industry.
From the iconic MX5, to the bullet-proof nature of the 3 to the versatility of the 5 – all excellent chariots.
The 6 is no exception so the new arrival has a lot to live up to.
Based on the KODO – Soul of Motion, a design themed on wild animals – it certainly doesn't disappoint in the looks department.
It even comes with its own individual colours like Soul Red Metallic, Blue Reflex Mica – Meteor Grey Mica and Jet Black Mica.
This beast is bigger, longer and wider than its older brother with shorter overhangs which gives greater legroom both front and rear.
Inside the dash layout is clean and crisp and there are smatterings of luxury mixed with sport with soft leather steering complimented by little flashes of aluminium – giving the whole cabin a real executive feel.
But the real magic is hidden under the bonnet in the guise of Mazda's SkyActiv technology which ensures “best-in-class” fuel economy alongside lower emissions.
The revolutionary 2.2-litre diesel engine is 50kg lighter than its predecessor and 20pc more efficient.
Thanks to iStop and i-Eloop; Mazda’s clever new regenerative braking system which stores kinetic energy for in-car devices, it returns hybrid-like stats.
In layman's terms, the 150bhp, 4-pot is now capable of an astounding 67mpg while the CO2 count is a band-busting 108g/km meaning annual road tax of just €200.
Now if that isn't enough to sway you, then the drive, ride and handling will.
A much stiffer chassis and body coupled with tauter suspension and steering practically eliminates bodyroll – even in the estate or erm, Tourer.
There is more than enough grunt from the punchy diesel unit which is so refined that at times the you have to check the rev counter to see is she still ticking over.
It's not short on goodies either and the generous bundle of standard kit includes Bluetooth, 17-inch alloys, cruise control, climate control, front and rear parking sensors, a 5.8-inch touchscreen multimedia system and Smart City Brake (activates brakes at lower speeds automatically to avoid rear-ending).
Other safety features to choose on the options list include the latest gizmos like Lane Departure Warning System which alerts the driver of unintended lane changes.
Rear Vehicle Monitoring detects and warns the driver of cars approaching from behind in adjacent lanes, e.g. in the blind spots.
Emergency Stop Signal rapidly blinks the hazard lights during heavy braking to warn ensuing traffic.
Mazda Radar Cruise Control keeps a safe distance from preceding vehicles at speeds of up to 200kph, controlling the speed and applying the brakes when required.
All toys you’d expect to find on a luxury limo not a reasonably priced mid-market saloon.
It’s not all good news though as Mazda’s distinct ‘new model’ advantage over Toyota, VW is sure to wane a little with the launch of the much-awaited Mondeo – especially the 1.0litre EcoBoost at the end of the year.
Wow. Let battle commence.
Prices for the 6 start from €28,745.