Mazda6, the medium large sedan and wagon from Japan are the latest to receive the treatment. What at first glance looks to be an interesting facelift is in fact only part of the story because a new sporty engine has been added and there’s also been significant work on the body.
Let’s look at the engine first: it’s a 2.5-litre four-cylinder unit like the others in the petrol range, but now features a turbocharger to bring its power up to 170 kilowatts, with torque of 420 newton metres.
On the styling front, the latest edition of Mazda’s very successful grille styling has a complex mesh pattern and its centre sits lower to give it an even bolder look. The LED headlamps now integrate with the foglamps.
At the rear, the Mazda6 sedan has a new design for the boot lid, the exhaust pipes are larger and have been repositioned toward the outer edges of the bumper.
Newly designed 17 and 19-inch alloy wheels complement the upgraded appearance in both the sedan and station wagon.
Inside, fully redesigned front seats are wider and use high-density, vibration-absorbing urethane foam to increase support. The rear seats have also get the high-density urethane foam.
The out of sight areas of the body have been significantly revised, with the use of greater strength in the joins of multiple areas to add stiffness without affecting weight. This reduces NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness) levels in the cabin.
A stiffer body also provides an even more stable platform for the suspension to work within, and therefore improved handling and driver feel. More about this in the Driving section of this news feature.
Intensive work has been done to enhance conversation clarity between the occupants. Not just volume of voices but the way in which they are picked up by the ears.
Priced between $32,490 and $50,090 (plus on-road costs), there are 14 variants of the upgraded Mazda6, with a choice between wagon and sedan, with four model grades: Sport, Touring, GT and Atenza.
Chasing the new Holden Commodore and the Kia Stinger, both of which have four and six-cylinder engines, the four-cylinder Mazda6 has some tough competition.
However, the Mazda has long had a reputation for quality and prestige in its class in Australia and the latest ‘6 has an impressive look and feel to further enhances that.
On the road it is smooth, quiet and comfortable, even more so than before. We took a new turbo-petrol on a complex trip from Melbourne to Ballarat over a wide variety of roads; sealed and unsealed; good condition and poor; straight and winding; uphill and down.
A typical country drive for a family looking for a peaceful day. The Autumn leaves, particularly in the Mount Macedon area made life even more pleasant.
Our Mazda6s did it with ease, creating a relaxing upmarket feel of exactly the type its engineers and stylists were aiming for.
The new turbo-petrol engine has minimal turbo lag, making for safe overtaking and easy hillclimbing. It’s smooth and quiet and we defy the average driver to pick from being a four-cylinder not a six-.
The trip back to Tullamarine airport was done the boring way, trundling along in traffic. It cruised in a relaxed fashion and conversation was quiet and easy.
One feature wasn’t to our liking. The turbo engine does like a drink with fuel consumption usually in the eight to ten litres per hundred kilometres bracket. We had anticipated it being about 10 per cent better than that.
The complete 2018 Mazda6 range is:
Sport 2.5-litre petrol sedan: $32,490 (automatic)
Sport 2.5-litre petrol wagon: $33,790 (automatic)
Touring 2.5-litre petrol sedan: $36,690 (automatic)
Touring 2.5-litre petrol wagon: $37,990 (automatic)
Touring 2.2-litre diesel sedan: $39,690 (automatic)
Touring 2.2-litre petrol wagon: $40,990 (automatic)
GT 2.5-litre petrol sedan: $43,990 (automatic)
GT 2.5-litre petrol wagon: $45,290 (automatic)
GT 2.2-litre diesel sedan: $45,090 (automatic)
GT 2.2-litre diesel wagon: $46,390 (automatic)
Atenza 2.5-litre petrol sedan: $47,690 (automatic)
Atenza 2.5-litre petrol wagon: $48,990 (automatic)
Atenza 2.2-litre diesel sedan: $48,790 (automatic)
Atenza 2.2-litre diesel wagon: $50,090 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Mazda dealer for drive-away prices.