The charm offensive
The Mazda6 makes a compelling case for buying a midsize sedan. Shame about the SUV spoilers
SALES of midsize SUVs are double those of similarly sized sedans and the trend isn’t showing any signs of changing.
Elevating the ego and the drive height is one thing; ignoring the better dynamics of a lower, longer car is another.
The Mazda6 is a case in point. It’s cheaper, roomier and better to drive than the company’s undeniably good CX-5 SUV — yet the latter outsold the 6 by four to one last year.
A major equipment upgrade and minor price trims won’t reverse that trend but should keep the Mazda6 at the top of the midsize list for private buyers.
A quick look at the exterior shows there’s ... nothing to see. The changes run to a more chiselled grille, changes to the front and rear light clusters, new alloy wheels and a smaller sharkfin antenna.
Far more attention has been paid to the interior, with a new, higher-mounted seven-inch touchscreen with satnav and the latest MZD Connect infotainment software.
An electric parking brake frees up space for a Sport switch (on petrol models) next to the transmission lever. The redesign also give more space for the rotary infotainment controller. The GT and Atenza variants gain a “repeater” head-up display that projects functions such as speed on to a plastic screen in front of the steering wheel.
More alloy finished highlights are intended to enhance the premium feel and the seat cushions have been reworked to improved longdistance comfort.
Sluggish traffic highlights the refinement of the petrol engine’s stop-start mechanism. The Mazda6 fires up as soon as pressure starts to ease off the brake pedal, meaning the engine is firing as the foot transfers to the accelerator, so there’s no lag.
The sedan is then sprightly off the line and the six-speed automatic transmission shifts like a precision watch. Allround vision is good and all variants have a reversing camera.
The wide-opening rear doors are a boon for those cramming kids into car seats and the boot has decent space for a family of four, limited only by the lack of height imposed by the sloping roofline.