Road Tests

Handbook: Mazda6

Time 11:39 am, March 11, 2013

mazda6MAZDA’s new 6 is a crucial car for the Japanese firm’s UK dealer network. Dave Brown reports.

What is it?

The third incarnation of the 6 is available as a saloon and tourer (no change there) but it is in fact a totally fresh vehicle. Mazda has worked like mad to try to build a world-beater here and the early signs are that they might be on a roll. It has already been voted car of the year in Switzerland. So they’re on a Swiss roll at the very least.

Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 11.34.17What’s under the bonnet?

Mazda’s range of high-efficiency Skyactiv powertrains includes two petrol engines and two diesels paired to six-speed automatic or manual transmissions. Skyactiv-G petrol engines include the 2.0-litre 143bhp and a 2.0-litre 163bhp both producing 210Nn. Skyactiv-D diesel engines include the 2.2-litre 148bhp and the 2.2-litre 173bhp. They’re clean and efficient engines that won’t damage customers’ pockets – or the planet – too much.

What’s the spec like?

Entry-level SE cars cost from £19,595 and come with an engine stop-start button; front and rear power windows; Bluetooth and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearknob. Mazda believes the mid-range SE-L model will be the most popular. It comes with features such as privacy glass; dusk-sensing lights; Smart City Brake Support and power-folding door mirrors. Prices range from £20,395-£22,595, while the Mazda 6 range tops out with the Sport Nav trim which costs between £24,115 and £27,295.

What’s it like to drive?

We could only drive the 2.0-litre, petrol, manual version. There’s no doubt it was a smooth, refined drive, with a peach of a gearbox. The blind spot warning light is a touch over-sensitive, though.

What do the press think of it?

Honest John was impressed, saying: ‘Fit and finish is excellent. You are not short-changed anywhere. Only the ergonomics of the centre console are far from ideal.’

What do we think of it?

This car is crucial to Mazda. The Japanese manufacturer has spent a while in the doldrums lately, and some dealers have been finding trade rather sluggish. More zzzz-zzzz than zoom-zoom. However, we feel the marque has charisma and character in abundance and could well be about to turn a corner. If Mazda can get its marketing right, and not keep buyers waiting, the new 6 has the potential to do really well.

Dave Brown's avatar

Dave, production editor on Car Dealer Magazine, is a journalist with more than 30 years' experience in the worlds of newspapers, magazines and public relations.

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