Mazda6 Makeover - So What’s New?
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
The current generation of Mazda6 was launched back in 2014 and it has been my pleasure to review it on a number of occasions. Why you may ask? Well Mazda chose to update it a couple of times and the reason for this article is that they have been tinkering once again.
With SUVs now dominating the family car market, sales of the traditional saloon and estate cars have declined. I suspect the Mazda philosophy is to continually update rather than replace the 6 and spend development funds on more lucrative models.
The Mazda6 was already one of the better looking cars in its class, so exterior tweaks are few. The beady-eyed will spot the new grille, new lights, restyled front bumper and some chrome highlights. If it ain’t broke...
Interior changes are also modest. The dash is now wider and stretches into the door panels for a more cohesive look. The central screen is now an eight-inch unit, though disappointingly the graphics lag behind the crisper offerings of some rivals.
A new head-up display is fitted as standard to all models and this now projects its information directly onto the windscreen – gone is the rather low-rent plastic flap.
Seats are new and are extremely comfortable, especially if covered in the optional Nappa leather. Wood trim is now available too if you so desire.
I am told around 30 per cent of Mazda6 buyers specify Soul Red metallic paint and this too has been updated. It is now Soul Red Crystal (an £800 option) which boasts a deeper more lustrous finish. It suits the car and gets my vote.
At the Media Drive event, the two popular diesel engines were unavailable to try. Both engines now feature a urea Selective Catalytic Reduction system that significantly reduces NOx emissions. Power outputs of 150PS and 184PS, manual or automatic gears and up to 64.2mpg. Diesel engine cars will arrive in the UK in the next few months.
Mazda has not followed the herd with its petrol engines and resolutely favours larger capacity over turbocharging. The philosophy is that the 2.0-litre’s high compression ratio and low friction gives the same economy and low emissions as rivals.
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New to the Mazda6 is a 194PS 2.5-litre petrol engine, only available with an automatic gearbox. With the promise of 42.2mpg, a gentle motorway amble saw just less than 40mpg registering on the trip computer. Overall this settled at 36.5mpg for the full test route – a reasonable result.
Also available is a 145PS petrol engine, but I’d be inclined to steer clear.
Mazda offers a choice of two excellent transmissions in the 6. The torque-converter automatic is exceptionally smooth and would be my choice. Those preferring a third pedal will find a slick, short-throw six-speed gearbox mated to a light clutch.
Under the skin, Mazda’s engineers have been working hard. Refinement is the order of the day, with extra sound deadening and anti-vibration panels fitted. The results are worthwhile, with wind and road noise almost absent even at higher motorway cruising speeds.
The suspension has been tuned and has had some component upgrades, the aim being to improve the ride and handling characteristics. I’m not sure there was much wrong with the 6 before this makeover and I can’t help but think that the car is now slightly less fun to drive, with a tad more body roll and a lack of steering feel when pressing on.
Much better to take it gently, whereby the firm but cosseting ride can be enjoyed.
Prices for the new Mazda6 start at £23,195, rising to £33,585 and there is a choice of four trims. All models are well equipped, with most boasting leather seats and a BOSE sound system.
I would suggest a Mazda6 Tourer in SE-L Lux Nav+ is the model to buy and though the petrol engine models are now on sale, I would hang on for the 150PS diesel, still likely to be the best seller.
So before you head down the SUV route, try a Mazda6 for size. It may suit you rather well.
Mazda6 Makeover - So What’s New?, 22nd July 2018, 17:38 PM