These days traditional station wagons have largely been replaced by SUVs and 4WDs on many people’s shopping lists, but there are still those who prefer lower, more stylish wagons that give sedan-like comfort.
Mazda may have what is generally the biggest selling SUV in Australia in the CX-5, but still offers a conventional wagon in the form of the Mazda6 wagon. Our test vehicle was the Sport variant, the “sport’ in the title refers more to parents taking kids to sports, rather to any real sportiness in the car.
Mazda6 wagon is an excellent iteration of the Japanese marque’s very successful Kodo shape, particularly at the front. The rear isn’t so much conventional wagon as semi-coupe. It works well from a styling point of view and was given the thumbs up by those asked to comment on the shape.
Inside, the sporting coupe theme continues, with a wide dashboard that has a traditional three-dial arrangement directly in front of the driver. The speedo is in the centre, the tacho to the left and the dial to the right gives fuel and water temperature details. There’s also programmable readings on the right-hand dial.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard in the most recent Mazda models. The 8-inch screen sits in an easy to see central position that is beautifully clear and simple to use with a minimum of attention being taken from looking away from the road ahead.
The audio system provides clear FM radio sound thanks to the fitment of a second antenna which adds to reception range and cancels out noise generated by secondary wave interference. It never faltered during our testing procedure covering close to 600 kilometres.
Mazda6 Sport and Touring grades use a naturally aspirated Mazda Skyactiv-G 2.5-litre petrol engine producing up to 140 kW of power, and 252 Nm of torque at a rather high 4000rpm. More about the torque in the Driving section of this review.
The higher spec GT and Atenza models use a Skyactiv-G 2.5T turbocharged petrol engine with maximum power of 170 kW and torque of 420 Nm at a nicely low 2000rpm. Why doesn’t the Sport get the more powerful engine? It’s something to do with marketing.
Six airbags, front and rear parking sensors and reversing camera is standard fare as is blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and smart city braking.
The most recent models have had fine tuning changes to the autonomous emergency braking and rear-cross traffic alert systems.
The low slung body means there’s enough space for two adults one behind the other, but if they are on the lanky side there might have to be some discussions as to who gets what space.
The front seats are a bit of a climb down if you’re getting on in years, but once in there you will find them spacious and comfortable with good side and under-thigh support.
The rear doors are smallish – reminding us why SUVs are taking over the ‘car’ market – but there’s good space for two, with less width and length in the centre seat. It is a five-seater, but only just if you’ve got a trio of large teenagers back there.
Have taller teens check for headroom as the swoopy roof comes into play if they like to sit upright.
Engine performance is very good and throttle response is all but instantaneous.
Mazda’s clever G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus) is used in all the ‘6 models, not just in the Sport variant. An enhanced version of the existing GVC vehicle dynamics control technology, it adds yaw moment control for better stability and composure when cornering.
The feel through the steering is more limo-like than sports-like and we feel that’s what the typical buyer will prefer.
The ride/comfort compromise leans in the comfort direction and this make an excellent long distance touring car. Road noise is muted nicely on concrete motorways, but coarse-chip bitumen does create more sound than we like, which isn’t unusual in imported cars so it’s barely a criticism of the big Mazda.
The Mazda6 Sportwagon looks good, handles neatly and is an excellent long distance cruising machine. However, check it out for interior space if you’ve recently been considering an SUV but decided to opt for a station wagon.
AT A GLANCE
Sport 2.5-litre five-door wagon: $35,790 (automatic)
Touring 2.5-litre five-door wagon: $39,990 (automatic)
GT 2.5-litre five-door wagon: $47,290 (automatic)
Atenza 2.5-litre five-door wagon: $51,990 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Mazda dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Mazda6 Touring GL 2.5-litre petrol five-door wagon)
Capacity: 2.488 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 140 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 252 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Fuel Type: Standard unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.0 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 164 g/km
DRIVELINE: Six-speed automatic
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4800 mm
Wheelbase: 2750 mm
Width: 1840 mm
Height: 1480 mm
Turning Circle: 11.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 1494 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 11.0 litres
Front: Ventilate disc
Rear: Solid disc
Five years / unlimited kilometres