25 Mar 2019 | 02.21 pm
Strong contender in the sub-premium executive car segment
25 Mar 2019 | 02.21 pm
Mazda’s facelifted Mazda 6 has a luxury interior and can drive through corners like a sports GT, writes Mark Gallivan
By and large, facelifts bridge a gap by keeping a car looking fresh before the next new generation arrives. Not with Mazda. The latest Mazda 6, launched at the tail end of 2018, is more than a tweak. There’s a new front grille, new wheels, and a revised cabin with a new instrument panel and interior fittings with new soft-touch fabrics. And these improvements position the latest Mazda 6 as a strong contender in the sub-premium executive car segment.
There are fourteen different Mazda 6 saloons to choose from. Starting at €31,945 with the 2.0-litre Petrol, 145PS Executive SE manual up to 2.2-litre Diesel 184PS Platinum version with a six-speed auto transmission at €45,725.
The model tested was the 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D Platinum six-speed manual at €40,495. My first impression of the exterior facelift is positive, as the Mazda 6 is one of the most graceful looking saloon cars available. The refreshed cabin is handsomely built and cleverly gathers all the primary controls into a centrally grouped collection of buttons and switches and a touchscreen within the centre of the dashboard.
I had to double-check the exhaustive specification sheet that includes active safety, connectivity and convenience features to check if everything was actually in there. The overall execution is bordering on Lexus quality. A case in point: class rivals like the Ford Mondeo make the Mazda 6’s interior simply feel leagues ahead. Indeed BMW and Mercedes would be proud of the result at this price.
The test car was fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox and like all Mazdas it is precise to use. I would recommend the automatic gearbox, as it better suits the car’s relaxing cruising experience. While it is not a proper sports saloon, the Mazda 6 is wonderfully communicative car to drive, and commendably mimics a sports GT saloon feedback when tackling corners.
With Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control, body roll and the pitch is reduced by sensors that detect as little as one-tenth of a steering change and instantly reduces the engine’s torque, thus putting less forward weight on the front wheels. This, in turn, reduces the likelihood of front wheel understeer. So less corrective steering is required when driving through bends.
Thankfully, Mazda has steered away from adding overly firm damping to achieve this result, and the car retains the sufficiently firm but pleasingly cosseting ride that has delighted Mazda 6 owners for years.
For buyers who favour a Crossover or a small SUV, there is also the option of the Mazda 6 Tourer from €33,545. However, the Mazda 6 is far more pleasant to drive, and more comfortable to live with, than any similarly priced Crossover. As for exclusivity, 471 new Mazda 6s were sold during 2018, so that level of rarity may help seal the deal.
Model Mazda 6
Engine 2.2 Litre Diesel four-cylinder, 6-Speed Manual, 150bhp
Price 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D €40,595 (Range starts from €31,945)
Road Tax €200 per annum
Verdict Facelifted Mazda 6 is now a sub- premium executive challenger.