The history of the Mazda6 dates back to 2002 when the Mazda6 replaced the older models such as the Mazda626 which had been in production for over 30 years in various models and facelifts. Since its launch you can clearly see the general progression of the Mazda6 into the strong saloon that it now is.
When you think of facelifts and updates to cars, you expect to see noticeable changes with the newer model. Given that the Mazda6 has always looked stunning it is no surprise that very little has been changed on the exterior. Put simply, pretty much all that has been changed on the outside are new door mirrors which are now electrically folding with repositioned indicators. I’m assuming the reason why the changes have been limited to this are because the Mazda6 since its launch a couple of years ago is one of the best looks saloon cars in its class.
So, what is it that Mazda have done that makes the Mazda6 any different than any other family saloon out there? Mazda have made a family saloon car that looks stunning. The curving lines over the front wing continue to the rear quarter panels. This in turn is enhanced by the “Soul Red” metallic paintwork. The new model retains the distinctive front grille which emphasises the cars wide stance along with a chrome trim bringing the grille and headlamps together which come with Bi-xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights as well as adaptive front lighting system (AFS). This in turn compliments the cars muscular appearance but does not take away from its sporty character. Look to the rear of the car and it has an almost coupé appearance to it along with its twin exhausts. Our test model which included the Platinum trim sat comfortably on 19” alloys as standard.
The trim levels in the Mazda6 remain the same with Executive, Executive SE and Platinum. My test car for the purposes of this review was the 2.2 SKYACTIV-D paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Sit inside the new Mazda6 and the changes are somewhat more obvious. The first of these changes that you will notice is that the steering wheel buttons have been simplified and somewhat decluttered. This doesn’t result in reduced functionality however as several buttons perform multiple functions.
Next up you will notice that the head up display has been given an upgrade and brought in line with technology advances. The active driving display or head up display as most people would know it now features high resolution sat-nav prompts along with current speed, traffic sign recognition and lane departure. It should be noted that active driving display, reversing camera, heated steering wheel and the excellent 11 speaker BOSE sound system are only available on the Platinum trim.
Safety features have been enhanced with the inclusion of Smart City Brake Support with pedestrian recognition, blind spot monitor, driver attention alert, lane keep assist and G-vectoring control to name but a few.
From a space and comfort perspective, the Mazda6 is up there with the best of its competition. The level of finish throughout the cabin remains flawless and head and legroom front and back remain as comfortable as ever. Accessing the infotainment system can still be achieved through the rotary dial located behind the gear selector or from the touchscreen itself.
One of the more noticeable changes to the new Mazda6 is the reduction in engine and road noise. These were never a massive issue but they have been significantly reduced. One of the reasons behind this is the introduction of a system which reduces diesel knock by placing a small damper in the hollow part of the piston that helps to counteract diesel knock during the combustion. They have also devised a clever system which cancels out many frequency bands which were found to be loudest during engine operation. The results of these advances in the technology within the Mazda6 mean that the occupants enjoy a much more pleasant drive even at higher motorway speeds.
Having only previously had the opportunity to test the Mazda6 in manual transmission the automatic gearbox proved to be almost flawless whilst it was mated with the 2.2 litre turbo diesel engine which has a maximum output of 175PS and can achieve a top speed of 216 km/hour. The ride quality of the Mazda6 remains brilliant. The inclusion of the 19inch alloy wheels on the Platinum trim doesn’t take from the handling and comfort. The Mazda6 handles more like a coupé than a large family saloon. Steering response is immediate with excellent feedback.
Pricing on the Mazda6 starts from €29,295 for the petrol model while the diesel models start from €29,995 in Executive trim. Mazda have built on what was already a brilliant car and with this newest version they have merely tweaked the system to ensure that they continue to deliver one of the best cars in its segment.
Technical Specification Automatic
Engine Size – 2.2 SKYACTIV – D
Fuel Type – Diesel
Power – 175 bhp
Torque – 420Nm
Acceleration (0 – 100km/h) – 8.4 seconds
Top Speed – 216 km/hour
CO2 emissions – 127g / km
Road Tax – € 270
Prices from – €29,295
Price – €41,595 (model tested)