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Mazda6 Touring road test and review

RUNOUT SPECIALS: With a new model fast approaching, the outgoing Mazda6 should be available at a very appealing price.
RUNOUT SPECIALS: With a new model fast approaching, the outgoing Mazda6 should be available at a very appealing price.

POET William Henry Davis said "we have no time to stand and stare".

This is the adage of the automotive industry.  

Always working years ahead, manufacturers are releasing models now but have another eye on what's coming.   When the third generation Mazda6 arrived here in December 2012, it marked a major step forward in driveability and material finishes. Another nip-and-tuck a couple of years later, the medium-size sedan and wagon is about to be on the receiving end of more improvements.  

For those currently shopping, that's good news. Expect some impressive deals on the current model, and for those who want the latest and greatest - that's about to hit the showroom floor.  

Does that mean the old models are duds?

No, far from it. Our first experience with the Mazda6 nearly four years ago was nothing but positive.   

Our most recent test drive achieved a similar response, although there are a few improvements which have been made in other offerings, such as the CX-5 SUV and Mazda3 small car, which will be passed on to the Mazda6.  

Those improvements are things such as a more refined central computer system which is used a dial-style operation. But we didn't find things too difficult, just a little clumsy when doing various tasks like changing from AM to FM stations.  

Cabin ergonomics are good and the is room for five adults inside.   

Mazda6 Touring
Mazda6 Touring

So can it fit the family?   

Even the sedan has impressive boot space, with easy access to child seat anchorage points on the parcel shelf, it's a good fit for those with littlies.  

But for those who want to carry prams or sporting equipment regularly, the wagon is the pick of the pair.   

The Touring has leather trim (available in black or white) which makes things easy to clean, and the seats feel nicely supportive and everything feels hard-wearing for family duties.   

The 2016 Mazda6 is in runout mode ahead of the new model set to arrive in September.
The 2016 Mazda6 is in runout mode ahead of the new model set to arrive in September.

What's it like to drive?  

Sampling the four-cylinder petrol, it's composed and refined experience.  

Actually, the dynamics are impressive and it inspires you to push the boundaries. Keen drivers will find the petrol variant underwhelming on occasions, and the improved torque characteristics of the diesel would fulfil those desires.  

Mazda6 Touring
Mazda6 Touring

So it's no firecracker?

The performance won't set your loins alight with excitement. But the Mazda6 does everything well - it's an outstanding all-rounder. A bit like Shane Watson, but less prone to breaking down.   

Fuel efficiency is impressive and we managed about seven litres for every 100km.  

What about servicing costs?

Mazda has capped price servicing which should cost about $300 every 10,000km or annually. There is also a three-year 100,000km warranty, capped price servicing is available with servicing, but you have to pay extra for roadside assist.   

If I buy the model in runout, what am I missing out on?

Like the Mazda3, the Mazda6 will be on the receiving end of G-Vectoring. While that may sound like an astronaut wearing skimpy undies, its actually a system which focuses on adjusting body movement with engine torque.   

If you have no idea what that means, good. The driver will have no idea its operating, but engineers have adapted a system which analyses throttle position, steering angle, and how quickly you're adjusting the steering angle, which require less steering input and a more pleasurable driving experience.   

The basic equipment includes an 11-speaker Bose sound system, parking sensors front and rear, sat nav, full colour 17.7cm display and 17-inch alloys.   

Mazda6 Touring
Mazda6 Touring

What else is around?  

Probably regarded as the most attractive of the mid-size realm, there is also the Skoda Octavia 162TSI RS ($37,590), Mazda6 Touring ($37,290), Hyundai Sonata Elite ($36,990) and Kia Optima Si ($34,490).

The biggest seller in this genre is the Toyota Camry primarily due to its fleet sales, and the closest to this model is the Toyota Camry Atara SL ($37,440).  

What's the deal?   

Mazda is currently offering the safety pack free, including blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and smart city brake support. All outstanding technology which four years ago was only available on the range-topper.   

It's also available with free registration and compulsory third party insurance for 12 months.  

Collectively, it's a rock-solid buy. With the impressive safety goodies thrown into the mix, and the added bonuses, you would be saving close to $10,000 on the same vehicle from four years ago.

The 2015 Mazda6 has been released.
The 2015 Mazda6 has been released.

Vital statistics

Model: Mazda6 Touring.  

Details: Four-door front-wheel drive sedan or five-door wagon.  

Engine: 2.5-litre in-line four-cylinder petrol generating maximum power of 138kW @ 5700rpm and peak torque of 250Nm @ 3250rpm.  

Transmission: Six-speed automatic.   

Consumption: 6.6 litres/100km (combined average).  

CO2: 153g/km.  

Bottom line plus on-roads: Sedan $37,290, Wagon $38,590.    

Topics:  mazda6 motoring review road test touring


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