Six ap­peal?

Closer to RS4 than Fam­ily Truck­ster

Wheels (Australia) - - Showroom - FELIPE UBILLA

BLAME THE Gris­wolds in Na­tional Lam­poon’s

Va­ca­tion. Their hor­rid 1979 Ford LTD is one of the most hideous ex­am­ples of a wagon I’ve ever laid eyes on. Not only did it sear my reti­nas, it also put me off the body shape for over a decade. It wasn’t un­til Audi came through with the RS4 in 1999 that I paid any at­ten­tion to cars of that shape. The clean de­sign and bru­tal per­for­mance (mostly) had some­thing to do with it.

Since then I have de­vel­oped a soft spot for wag­ons and the pos­si­bil­ity of ac­tu­ally own­ing one has be­come very real.

En­ter the Mazda 6 Atenza I’m cur­rently the cus­to­dian of. For a car that’s been around for al­most eight years, its de­sign is do­ing well to stand the test of time. The boffins at Mazda’s de­sign stu­dio have done an ex­cep­tional job of craft­ing a body that’s good to look at from all an­gles – in my opin­ion the wagon looks su­pe­rior to the sedan.

Things get even bet­ter on the in­side. The clean and sim­ple de­sign is easy on the eye and even nicer to the touch – the range of ma­te­ri­als used are all of ex­cep­tional qual­ity with a match­ing fin­ish. There’s a sense of Ger­man in­flu­ence that other Ja­pa­nese man­u­fac­tur­ers haven’t come close to yet.

One as­pect that jarred with me was the cen­tral in­fo­tain­ment screen. At times in the past I’ve won­dered why Mazda has per­sisted with a rel­a­tively small unit while com­peti­tors have gone to cin­ema-sized dis­plays. Liv­ing with it, I’ve come to re­alise that it doesn’t need to be big­ger – all the in­for­ma­tion needed is pre­sented in a clever for­mat, with­out re­dun­dant info that would only be a dis­trac­tion. It’s a good ex­e­cu­tion of KISS – keep it sim­ple, stupid.

The seats are the real treat in the 2018 up­date. Rolling on 19-inch wheels and tyres, the ride is a bit on the firm side but the seats do a great job of sup­press­ing any spine-jar­ring jolts that our rub­bish roads can dish out.

With Mel­bourne’s bipo­lar weather ten­den­cies, the heat­ing and ven­ti­la­tion fea­ture in the front pews is a wel­come in­clu­sion on the Atenza’s fea­ture list. Cold morn­ing + toasty seat = nice fuzzy feel­ing.

Thus far the 6 has been a plea­sure to drive day-to-day, my only gripe be­ing with the thick A-pil­lars that can ob­scure your vi­sion in some sit­u­a­tions.

If you’re think­ing of up­grad­ing, Chevy Chase, please take note.

MAX HEAD­ROOM Any­one six feet or taller may have an is­sue with the sun­roof

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