And it has to be good just to keep-up with its stablemates. As well as the Mazda6, the lineup of hot-selling Mazda3, Mazda2, BT50 ute and new Mazda CX-5 SUV means Mazda is currently on-track for its best-ever sales year in Australia. As they say in the car industry: “There’s no substitute for good products”.
Car Showroom tested the Mazda6 Touring wagon. Priced at $34,750 the wagon version of the Mazda6 shapes up as a very competitive offering in the mid-size wagon segment, gaining standard leather seats (electronic adjustment for the fronts) and front/rear parking sensors at the most recent update.
For sure, good looks are a big part of the Mazda6 success story. Without doubt the Mazda6 Touring wagon is a medal contender in the looks department along with the Hyundai i40 and Ford Mondeo (we’ll leave you to decide gold, silver or bronze).
As practical as the best of them, the Mazda6 Touring wagon also delivers the hallmark Mazda driving dynamics which enthusiast drivers will appreciate.
Power comes from Mazda’s familiar MZR 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. Maximum power is 125kW at 6000rpm and peak torque of 226Nm is delivered at 4000rpm.
Our Mazda 6 Touring wagon drove through the five-speed automatic transmission (six-speed manual for the diesel wagon).
Fuel consumption is rated at 8.9l/100kms. A couple of quick comparisons: Ford Mondeo wagon delivers 118kW/208Nm and fuel consumption is rated at 9.5l/100kms and the Hyundai i40 Tourer is good for 130kW/213Nm and fuel consumption scores 7.5l/100kms.
Mazda’s 2.5-litre has been around for a while and is certainly well-developed, smooth and refined.
Mazda6 The Interior
Inside is where the Mazda6 Touring wagon has really stepped-up with its standard leather seats (electronic adjustment for the fronts) and piano black trim highlights – all very upmarket compared to some rivals.
We’ve always liked the driving environment in the Mazda6 – a good driving position, sensible instruments housed in a nice, curved binnacle and simple, well laid-out controls for the audio and climate control systems.
Audio is a six-speaker CD system with the usual connectivity.
Rear seat access is good and the Car Showroom juniors enjoyed nice supportive seats.
Out back, Mazda6 mixes with the best of the mid-size wagons with 519-litres of cargo space with the rear seat in place and 1,751-litres with the seat folded.
Mazda6 Exterior & Styling
For on-road presence the Mazda6 Touring wagon is hard to beat. It’s a complex blend of strong, aerodynamic curves from front to rear lead by the strong Mazda front grille.
We like the stylish fog-light housings with their aerodynamic ‘kick-outs’ blending into the wheelarches. Also noticeable at the front is the way the larger, modern headlights curve into the front fenders.
In profile the Mazda6 Touring wagon highlights a successful transition from sedan to wagon, again featuring those curvaceous fenders and the modern, sloping roof.
And the rear is very stylish – we like the wagon-specific rear lights which match the flowing body shape.
Mazda6 On The Road
Mazda6 rides on a well-executed double-wishbone front/multi-link rear suspension and at its most recent update scored revised bushes and mounting points plus improvements to the power steering feel. The idea was to improve Mazda 6’s agility and straight-line feel.
Those efforts highlight Mazda’s ongoing quest for quality driving dynamics which of course is part of the background for its SkyACTIV technology now flowing across the range.
So performance drivers or those accustomed to European cars take note: the Mazda6 Touring is a wagon you will enjoy.
Over our high-speed mountain roads test loop the Mazda6 was agile, precise and quite firm in its feedback. There was little body roll and mid-corner bumps were not unsettling.
Of course understeer is the ‘default’ chassis setting but the limits are high and the Mazda6 responded well to throttle changes.
Around town we liked the responsiveness of Mazda 6’s 2.5-litre four cylinder and, on better quality city roads and freeways, tyre noise diminished and refinement levels were more Mazda-like.
For wagon driving dynamics the Mazda6 gives our favourite, the Ford Mondeo wagon, a run for its money but the ‘6’ lost points for the intrusion of tyre/road noise when driving on coarse chip and other less-than-perfect secondary roads.
Our other points deduction was for the five-speed automatic transmission (six speeders in the Ford Mondeo and Hyundai i40 for example).
Mazda6 The Competition
Ford’s German Mondeo is a Car Showroom favourite and is Mazda6’s most direct rival. However most of the Mondeo range is diesel powered leaving the only petrol wagon the $33,340 entry-level LX. Here, Mazda6 Touring ($34,750) with its leather-trimmed interior flexes its value-for-money credentials although of course you need to carefully consider other factors like luggage space in the overall picture.
Hyundai i40 Tourer is very much a contender. The ‘Elite’ grade i40 Tourer ($39,490) is packed with goodies, Hyundai’s 2.0-litre petrol engine is good for 130kW/214Nm and drives through a six-speed auto.
Subaru Liberty wagon provides all-wheel-drive traction and 123kW/229Nm from the 2.5-litre boxer engine. At $38,490 the Liberty 2.5i wagon is getting pricey so check the features closely.
Skoda Octavia wagon ($35,290 for the 118TSI) delivers 118kW/250Nm of turbocharged petrol power but may not afford the cargo space of Mazda6, Ford Mondeo or Hyundai i40.
Very, very slick – the Mazda6 Touring wagon delivers all of the acknowledged Mazda6 strengths in a wagon form. And with inclusions like interior leather, electronic seat adjustment and front/rear parking sensors, its $34,740 tag is mightily impressive.
Driving dynamics, like the Mazda6 sedan, are top-shelf and will be appreciated by enthusiast drivers used to European cars. Luggage capacity and practicality are amongst the best.
But overriding all of that are the looks – the Mazda6’s ‘killer curves’ shove it to the front of the mid-size wagon pack.