All-star motoring in Mazda 6 sedan - Road Test | Drivesouth New & Used Cars , Motoring News , Reviews | Catalog-cars

All-star motoring in Mazda 6 sedan – Road Test | Drivesouth New & Used Cars , Motoring News , Reviews

18 Sep 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on All-star motoring in Mazda 6 sedan – Road Test | Drivesouth New & Used Cars , Motoring News , Reviews
Mazda 6

All-star motoring in Mazda 6 sedan

Five-star motoring. The Mazda 6 GSX sedan. Photos David Thomson

The new Mazda 6 diesel wagon secured a rave review when it was tested in these pages a few weeks back in flagship $60,795 Limited guise.

Following time with that machine, the $49,795 GSX petrol sedan version has come Drivesouth’s way.

Mazda does not differentiate between wagon and sedan variants in its pricing, so the $11,000 saving over the flagship diesel limited is accounted for in two different ways: firstly, there’s the $2200 premium that the 129kW/420Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel commands over the 138kW/250Nm 2.5-litre petrol across the Mazda 6 range; secondly, the GLX is shorn of what one must presume to be $8800 of top-end kit.

Even so, if one is happy to do without such niceties as leather trim, power-operated heated front seats, radar cruise control, an emergency braking system that activates in response to obstacles ahead, lane departure warning and adaptive bi-xenon headlights, the GLX is not short of appeal.

For starters, it still boasts a decent equipment list: satellite navigation, a six-speaker audio system with Bluetooth connectivity, a colour centre touchscreen for the multimedia system, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry, push-button start, rain-sensing wipers, auto lights, conventional cruise control, parking sensors, reversing camera, front fog lamps and alloy wheels are all included.

Whether the saloon is a better looker than the wagon is very much a matter of individual taste. My initial thinking was no, but after a few days with the sedan I started to warm to it as the more appealing of an attractively cutting-edge, contemporary pair.

As for packaging, those seeking load-carrying flexibility will find the wagon a natural choice. That said, the sedan’s 438-litre boot is fairly generous and practically shaped, too. Its rear seat-backs also fold forward, though not to provide the same cavernous luggage capacity as the wagon.

Mind you, thanks to being a little longer in the wheelbase, the sedan outdoes the wagon in the rear of the cabin, with larger rear doors and appreciably more legroom.

Distinctive driving experiences stem from those two very different engines: whereas the diesel is a muscular, easy-going loafer, the petrol needs to be revved hard to show its best. Fortunately, it is a responsive engine, with a much sharper initial throttle response than the diesel, and an ability to spool high into the rev range with plenty of character and no loss of smoothness.

Mazda 6

While the petrol engine does snarl when worked hard, it is refined when cruising, and this combines with deft shifts from the six-speed automatic transmission to deliver impressive mechanical smoothness.

Not surprisingly, the diesel has a clear economy edge. Even so, equipped as it is with Mazda’s latest Skyactiv technology (including stop-start and regenerative braking), the petrol 6 manages an economy turn of 6.6 litres/100km on the standard economy cycle.

With slightly different wheelbases, weight distributions and rear suspension set-ups, the wagon and sedan handle a little differently, the latter better balanced when hustled through tight bends (albeit with quite light steering). The sedan also held the edge in ride quality, though this was probably down to its wheels and tyres: 17-inch alloys and 225/55 tyres, rather than the 19-inch rims and 45-profile tyres of the Limited.

Given that the Limited wagon earned four and a-half stars in its test, all of this has the GSX sedan pitching hard for a rare five-star road test rating.

It earns that final half-star, with the somewhat awkward admission that, having awarded this version of the new 6 the highest score possible for a Drivesouth test, I have a sneaking suspicion that the diesel GSX could be better yet.

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