Relax, everything’s under control . . . well, almost everything, with the Mazda6 2.5-litre Atenza petrol automatic sedan I’m driving. Already the possessor of the latest in safety technology, the Mazda flagship has been endowed with more of the same, putting the driver and passengers at even more ease than before with no added wallet anxiety.
For example, the new Mazda6 still keeps an eye on pedestrians with Smart City Brake Support, now with the upper detection speed range increased from 30 km/h to 80 km/h.
Smart Brake Support, which detects obstacles ahead of the vehicle, also has had its operating range expanded to between 15 and 160 kilometres per hour, while Mazda’s newest i-Activsense technology, Traffic Sign Recognition, makes its Mazda6 debut displaying the speed limit on the stretch of road being travelled.
Driving dynamics and noise, vibration and harshness measures have been given a boost with Mazda’s world-first G-Vectoring Control, first seen in the new Mazda3, which gives a more controlled drive, while cabin quietness has been improved thanks to a range of sealing and noise absorption updates.
The Mazda6 looks, the result of a major makeover last year, have been mainly left alone, the only changes include newly designed side mirrors that fold automatically and the introduction of Mazda’s newest colour, Machine Grey Metallic.
Mazda6 is available as a sedan or wagon in four grades – Sport, Touring, GT and Atenza – with two engines, a 2.5-litre Skyactiv-G petrol and 2.2-litre Skyactiv-D diesel. The test vehicle was a Mazda6 2.5 Atenza petrol automatic sedan, on the market for $45,390, plus on-road costs.
Already sleek and sporty in nature, the Mazda6 sedan stays faithful to the company’s Kodo ‘Soul of Motion’ design language.The only change has been a redesign of the automatic folding door mirrors and the addition of a new hero colour in Machine Grey Metallic.
At 2830 mm, the new Mazda6 sedan has one of the longest wheelbases in its segment, making for a spacious cabin. The boot is a cavernous 474 litres.
The fit and finish of the cabin are second to none in this price segment, with the range-leading Atenza featuring top quality nappa leather upholstery covering plush seats, featuring coloured stitching and piping.
A new steering wheel has a smaller centre, slimmer chrome on the lower spoke, while upgraded instruments focus on improving the legibility of the Active Driving Display, which is now full colour, brighter and with more definition, to enable drivers to concentrate more on driving.
Connectivity is via hands-free phone, with a voice function able to read emails out loud when the vehicle is on the move. Pre-set messages can be used to give a suitable reply. Web content is obtainable through smartphone.
A Bose six or eleven-speaker audio are on offer, depending on model, and new to the range is DAB+ digital radio. Navigation software comes with free upgrades for three years.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Power trains are carried over from the previous Mazda6 launched in 2012. The 2.5-litre Skyactiv-G direct injection petrol engine features a high 13:1 compression ratio; a specially designed 4-2-1 exhaust system and enhanced fuel spray properties to counter the drawbacks to such high compression
A balance shaft offsets the added vibration from the most powerful Skyactiv engine to date, putting out 138 kW of power at 5700 rpm and 250 Nm of torque at 3250 rpm. Combined urban / highway fuel consumption is put at 6.6 litres per 100 kilometres and carbon dioxide emissions at 153 g/km.
Safety has been advanced with additions to the Mazda i-Activsense system, including better detection of pedestrians via a new camera up front; new traffic sign identification technology; and brake support that now operates over a wider speed range.
Passive safety comes a rigid body and built-in energy absorbing crumple zones, plus front driver and passenger, front side, and front and rear curtain airbags.
As well as a driver’s seat position memory function, the angle, brightness and content of the Active Driving Display can be stored, making comfortable driving instantly available.
The 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine is responsive to the pedal, if a little course on hard acceleration. Fuel consumption worked out at up to 10 litres per 100 kilometres in town traffic, half that on the motorway.
The powertrain, with its standard six-speed automatic transmission, has the ability to adopt a Sport mode via drive selection switch on the centre console. Drivers can enjoy smarter pedal response and a more spirited driving experience. Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts add to driver control.
The ride is flat and generally stable. However, the firm suspension is liable to pick up road surface blemishes with bumps and bangs. The cabin atmosphere is calm and relaxed thanks to a rigid body and efficient insulation from engine, road and wind noise.
The last mentioned is the result of striking a balance between the underfloor and upper body air flow. The result is a low drag co-efficient of CD 0.27, high-speed stability and fuel economy.
Things have changed so swiftly over the past few years for the Mazda6. Improvements have come thick and fast. The question is can this be kept up, and if so, at what price to the buyer.
AT A GLANCE
Mazda6 2.5 Sport petrol automatic $32,490
Mazda6 2.5 Touring petrol automatic $37,290
Mazda6 2.5 GT petrol automatic $42,690
Mazda6 2.5 Atenza petrol automatic $45,390
Mazda6 2.2 Touring diesel automatic $40,140
Mazda6 2.2 GT diesel automatic $45,540
Mazda6 2.2 Atenza diesel automatic $48,240
Mazda6 2.5 Sport petrol automatic $33,790
Mazda6 2.5 Touring petrol automatic $37,590
Mazda6 2.5 GT petrol automatic $43,990
Mazda6 2.5 Atenza petrol automatic $46,690
Mazda6 2.2 Touring diesel automatic $41,440
Mazda6 2.2 GT diesel automatic $46,840
Mazda6 2.2 Atenza diesel automatic $49,540
Soul Red Metallic / Machine Grey Metallic price premium $250
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Mazda dealer for drive-away prices.
19in alloy wheels
Power sliding and tilt glass sunroof
Heated front and rear seats
Active Driving Display
Adaptive Front-lighting System
Advanced keyless entry
Seat trim: Black or Pure White nappa leather
Radar Cruise Control
Adaptive LED Headlamps
Driver Attention Alert
Forward Obstruction Warning
Lane Departure Warning
Smart Brake Support
7in full colour touch screen display
Audio system with DAB+ digital radio, AM/FM tuner, single disc CD player Bluetooth
Internet radio integration (Pandora, Stitcher and Aha)
Multi-function commander control
SPECIFICATIONS (Mazda6 Atenza 2.5-litre petrol automatic sedan)
Capacity: 2.488 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 138 kW @ 5700 rpm
Maximum Torque: 250 Nm @ 3250 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91 RON or higher
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.6 L/100km
Carbon dioxide emissions: 153 g/km.
DRIVELINE: 6-speed Skyactiv-Drive automatic
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4865 mm
Wheelbase: 2830 mm
Width: 1840 mm
Height: 1450 mm
Turning Circle: 11.2 metres
Kerb Mass: 1531 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 62 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc
Three years / unlimited kilometres