Middle earth mover
Mazda’s fresh medium-sizer takes the battle to beefier ranks of rivals
SIX figures mean a lot on a sales chart. Mazda has fasttracked its new Mazda6 to ensure the brand tallies more than 100,000 in a calendar year for the first time.
In industry-speak, ‘‘ new’’ can really mean ‘‘ revised’’, giving rise to the risible tautology ‘‘ all-new’’ to describe a genuinely new model. The third-generation Mazda6 is ‘‘ all-new’’ in several important respects. Being a global car for all
markets, it is altogether bigger. It runs more powerful but leaner engines. It loses the popular hatch shape and manual option.
It’s a big family sedan, or wagon, with small-car economy. It’s also here when almost all Australian buyers are thinking once, thinking again, and going for an SUV.
Going auto-only pushes the starting price of the entry-level Mazda6 Sport to $33,460 with 2.5-litre petrol engine. Step up to the Touring edition and it’s $37,500. The GT badge is a new one, starting from $43,220. The flagship Atenza (the 6’s name in Japan) starts from $46,810.
The 2.2-litre turbo diesel line-up starts at $40,350 for the Touring model. The GT is $46,070 and the Atenza tops the list at $49,660. The wagon adds a reasonable $1300. The hero Soul Red paint, which uses two different base coats to change shade depending on the angle and light, is $200.
Standard fare includes 17-inch alloys on the Sport and Touring, 19s for the GT and Atenza. There are also adaptive bi-xenon headlights on the top two models, leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone climate control with rear vents, TomTom satnav, cloth trim on the Sport and leather trim and powered front seat adjustment on the rest of the range.
Mazda claims improvements in phone noise suppression and voice recognition and a new function for Bluetoothconnected smartphones that can display and read out phone messages and email on the touchscreen.
You’ll have heard or will hear a fair bit about ‘‘ Skyactiv’’ tech. That encompasses engine and ancillary functions, including the 6 bringing the brand’s new capacitor-based ‘‘ i-Eloop’’ brake energy recovery system.
The system can be charged quickly and more often than the current battery set-up and works with the ‘‘ i-stop’’ fuel saving system to minimise the use of the electrics. Meanwhile the fuel miser uses combustion energy to restart, rather than the conventional ignition.
The 6’s Skyactiv-D 2.2-litre turbo diesel already serves in the CX-5 and the Skyactiv-G 2.5-litre petrol comes online for the SUV in the new year.
Fitted with sophisticated direct-injection and running on high compression, the petrol engine can run on on basic unleaded, developing 138kW at 5700rpm and 250Nm at 3250rpm. These are big increases on the outgoing car yet the claimed 6.6L/100km and 153g/km of CO are substantial reductions. The more familiar diesel, with low 14:1 compression and a twinturbine turbocharger produces 129kW and a fat 420Nm at 2000rpm.
The 6’s snout is a more elegant version of that on the CX-5. Overall it simply strikes you as a bigger car— the sedan’s length up 130mm to 4.8m; the wagon’s wheelbase is 25mm longer than the sedan’s. Yet cargo space suffers markedly. The sedan’s 438L, is barely better than a small hatch’s. The loss is more dramatic in the
Global roamer: The6isabig family sedan, or wagon, with small-car economy
Long and short of it: Despite greater dimensions, the 6’s cargo space suffers markedly; the dash and instruments are easy to read