Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016
- Best handling in its class
- A significantly improved design
- Reliable and practical
- High noise level at high speeds
- Some petrol engines have inherited problems
How hard, do you think, it might be for a major car manufacturer to fine-tune the suspension and get the handling right. Unachievable for some, but Mazda showed that they are listening to what their customers say. The last 'big' Mazda 626 was a very boring car with rather disappointing handling. Although moderately successful, it was scrapped in 2002 and replaced by the Mazda 6. Although you could still recognise some common design elements, it was an entirely new car and what's most important is that they got the handling right and made the car really exciting to drive.
Economical engines, moderate prices and high-class handling made the Mazda 6 one of the most desirable cars in its sector.
Exterior and Interior
Although to a certain extent, it continues the traditional Mazda 626 theme, the car has its own character. It was the first Mazda to be released under the new marketing adage "Zoom-Zoom". No-one knows what zoom-zoom means but looking at the Model 6 one might discern that it has something to do with being cool and sporty because that's exactly how the new Mazda was.
Like its predecessor, it was available in 3 body types: sedan, hatchback and estate. The latter, possibly inspired by the sporty Mercedes estates, was also available as a sporty version with the most powerful engine.
There are two basic trims: S and TS and two sportier versions TS2 and Sport, both of which have an advanced stability control system. The TS2 models also include a high-end audio system, 6-slot CD-changer, electric sunroof, and some interior updates.
The Mazda 6 is one of the most spacious and comfortable cars in its class. All the big Mazdas can accommodate five adults easily. The quality of interior materials has also improved comparing to the 626.
The Mazda6 Hatchback has 500 litres of boot space, the Wagon version "zooms" it to 1700 litres. In addition to that there is a large number of compartments and nooks in the salon.
Performance and Economy
One of the most exciting cars in the range is the heavy sport estate with the 2.3-litre engine. Called the Sport Wagon, it is also available in an all-wheel drive version. This is, however, a rarity and difficult to find. All Mazda 6s have an outstanding performance. Even the smallest 1.8-litre engine provides enough power to enjoy the drive. It is a very sensible choice as the engine is capable of 40mpg.
The more powerful petrol engines will average around 35mpg. The diesel engine achieves a respectable 52mpg.
Like to Drive
From a car that was made to be sensible and practical, you wouldn't normally expect such a high level of handling. The car is so much fun to drive, so this 'Zoom-Zoom', whatever it may be, is actually working. It should be noted that the ride of the Mazda 6 is quite firm but you won't mind ‐ it feels sporty and is confident both in a straight line and around the bends.
Faults and Repairs
Although a big improvement from the 626, the Mazda 6 is not perfect. The body parts, especially the plastic ones can be easily damaged or lost and body repairs on a Mazda are usually expensive. The good news is that apart from the body there will be little more that can go wrong. The improved engines and gearboxes have a long working life. Earlier Sixes had clutch problems, but to the best of our knowledge, those were quickly fixed by the manufacturer and haven't reoccurred since.