MAZDA6 2.5 SPORT

Herald Sun - Motoring - - HEAD TO HEAD -

VALUE

You get more for less: 17-inch wheels, dual ex­hausts, day­time LEDs, push-but­ton start, auto lights and wipers, in­ter­net de­pen­dent apps such as Pan­dora, Stitcher and Aha (no CarPlay or An­droid Auto). War­ranty is three years/100,000km but ser­vic­ing will cost more, at $1069 for three years/30,000km. As the na­tional av­er­age is 15,000km a year, add a fourth ser­vice, bring­ing the to­tal to $1339.

DE­SIGN/TECH

The cabin is roomy with com­fort­able seats and plenty of rear legroom. We like the beaut ribbed, char­coal-coloured cloth. The con­trols are large, easy to use and well thought-out, as is the large free­stand­ing tablet-like touch­screen with its carousel-style ac­cess to ap­pli­ca­tions. Space-saver spare.

EN­GINE

The 2.5-litre four-cylin­der (138kW/250Nm) is paired with a sixspeed auto with pad­dle-shifters. It’s fit­ted with such smart fuel sav­ing fea­tures as i-ELOOP brake en­ergy re­gen­er­a­tion and i-Stop to kill en­gine at lights. It’s up to daily driv­ing tasks but lacks the punch of the Mondeo. Claims 6.6L/100km and re­turned 7.4L over 500km, im­pres­sive for a car this size.

SAFETY

Gets five stars and 35.44/37 from ANCAP. As with the Ford, re­verse cam­era is stan­dard but Mazda adds auto emer­gency brak­ing that works up to 80km/h, in re­verse too. More ex­pen­sive vari­ants ex­tend that to 160km/h. It has blind spot and rear cross traf­fic alerts.

DRIV­ING

Weight gain over the years puts a dent in per­for­mance. Not as pow­er­ful or as re­spon­sive as the Mondeo but per­forms well. It’s a more re­fined drive, with bet­ter econ­omy to boot — at­tributes prized by buy­ers. The 6 sits se­curely on the road, with a con­fi­dent feel, and tracks nicely through cor­ners. Brakes in­stil con­fi­dence.

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