Mazda has upped its SIX appeal
MAZDA launched its new 6 back in 2013 and I’ve been pretty impressed with the saloon and estate models I’ve sampled since then.
I thought they were stylish and comfortable and I enjoyed the driving experiences.
The good news for buyers is that the Mazda6 has got even better.
A 28-strong saloon and tourer line-up with refreshed styling and enhanced standard equipment has just arrived in UK dealerships.
The biggest problem motorists will have is deciding which model is right for them.
It’s available in five grades – SE, SE Nav, SE-L, SE-L Nav and Sport Nav.
And there’s a wide power range of nine diesel and seven petrol saloons and nine diesel and three petrol tourers – with either six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
On-the-road prices range from £19,795 to £28,795 and every model features a striking new instrument panel and centre console design, revised suspension, improved sound insulation and higher standard spec.
All models also get Mazda’s first electronic parking brake, coming/leaving home headlamps, multimedia commander and manual driver and front passenger seat height adjustment.
Another first for Mazda is a DAB radio, incor-porated in the seven-inch, full-colour touchscreen and MZD Connect that gives Internet access paired with a smartphone.
Top-of-the-range Sport Nav models’ new exterior features include a restyled front with new grille and signature wing design, incorporating LED headlights, day-time running lights, front fog lights, and 19-inch bright alloy wheels.
I had the opportunity to sample a couple of the new Mazda6 models prior to them gong on sale.
I reckon the tourers are just as stylish as saloon models and I loved the colour of the estate I drove – a stunning Soul Red metallic.
It was a £28,795-priced Sport Nav automatic with a 173bhp 2.2-litre diesel engine.
Settling into the leather seat, which like the front passenger seat is power adjustable, you get the feeling of improved quality all around you.
There is no shortage of high-tech equipment and functions that include a super head-up display that allows you to see your speed and navigation directions as you view out the windscreen.
You have to pay £800 for the Safety Pack option that was on the model I sampled.
New features on this include adaptive LED headlights, lane-keep assist system and driver attention alert, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert and rear smart city brake support.
The tourer ticked all the boxes during my drive, cruising ever so smoothly and showing exceptional handling on country roads.
With a zero to 62mph time of just 8.6 seconds and a top speed of 134mph there was power aplenty when required coming through the responsive six-speed auto box.
There was little road or wind noise in the cabin and I wasn’t surprised to learn afterwards that this has been improved by 25 per cent.
The same Soul Red colour attracted me to an SE-L Nav saloon model costing £21,495.
Again, interior quality was of a high standard with the black cloth seating featuring the optional £200 stone leather trim.
The 2-litre 143bhp petrol engine didn’t lack punch either as it moved smartly up and down a slick six-speed manual gearbox.
It was slightly slower off the mark but still nippy enough with a standstill to 62mph time of 9.5 seconds and capable of 129mph.
Road holding and handling were also impressive and there was lots of mid-range acceleration when needed.
Both models tested are pretty frugal as well with the auto capable of 57.6mpg combined and the manual 51.4mpg combined.
Mazda has certainly upped the stakes in the large family car sector by packing more quality, performance and high-tech features into its stylish Mazda6 saloons and tourers.