MAZDA6 2.5 SPORT
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.