MAZDA6: playing the part and playing it well

THERE used to be a slogan years ago that went along the lines of ‘you’ll be amazed at a Mazda’ – and you would today once you’ve cast your eyes over the all new Mazda6.

It is without doubt the best looking car they’ve brought to the market since someone took a pencil out of the tin and penned the little MX5.

The previous Mazda6 was a worthy enough machine, although maybe not at the very top of the shopping list for company car user/choosers, but this latest version is set to change all that.

Not only does it look the part, it plays the part well too. Handling is on a par with the legendary Mondeo, but with the Mazda you’ll get a bit more exclusivity because they don’t ship in the numbers of the Ford.

There’s no five door hatch here, but the saloon and estate versions more than make up for that with their bold new looks. Note that distinctive grille and the sweeping headlights up front.

The four door Mazda gives you a lot of kit. The Sport Nav version sampled here has 19 inch alloys, leather trim, a thumping Bose stereo and a reversing camera.

And under the bonnet you get the very latest SKYACTIV technology in both diesel and petrol guise that gives you excellent economy and low CO2 emissions – all pretty impressive for a car this size.

Sampled here is the 2.2 litre diesel, which delivers a very useful 175ps and 420Nm at 2000rpm to make it a rather rapid car. A cross country run to Wiltshire was dispatched with plenty of haste but no fuss.

It’s the first mass produced Mazda model to come with i-ELOOP, the company’s unique brake energy regeneration system, which can help boost economy by up to 10 per cent, depending on driving conditions. And no, it wasn’t invented by a Yorkshireman…

Similar systems have been in use for some years but Mazda’s is unique.  i-ELOOP (short for “intelligent Energy Loop”) is the world’s first passenger car system to use a capacitor, which recharges fully in only a few seconds, to store the electricity.

One of the benefits of energy recovering systems is they allow ancillary systems such as air-conditioning to be used without drivers having to worry about the detrimental effect on fuel consumption.

A full capacitor charge is enough to run the vehicle’s electrical systems for a minute or so.  This makes i-ELOOP the perfect companion for i-stop – the latter launched as standard on the Mazda CX-5 and the all-new Mazda6 – as there is no need to revert to battery power even when Mazda’s idle-stop system has shut the car off.

During stop-and-go city driving, charging often resumes before the capacitor is fully discharged.  i-ELOOP can therefore produce most if not all of a vehicle’s electricity needs, whereas normally some of the engine’s output is required just to drive the alternator. So by freeing up this engine capacity, i-ELOOP increases fuel economy under everyday driving conditions.

Add all that in with the idle-stop system and SKYACTIV powertrains, chassis and body and you’ve got a car that ticks the boxes for fuel economy and CO2. You can’t argue with a combined figure as high as 67.3mpg and CO2 as low as 108g/km from a car that moves as well as this does.

The steering is responsive to your inputs though it can feel weighty at low speed, but the body has a taut, stiff feel to it and there’s no undue lurching as you hit a bendy bit of road. In fact the big 6 is great fun to drive because it is so responsive to what you’re asking it to do via the steering wheel, but well behaved at the same time.

Everyone who sits in the Mazda will appreciate the amount of space they get, as well as the quality of the BOSE surround sound system – a great companion on a long trip.

With Mazda looking to boost fleet sales with this car, one colleague even hinted that the new 6 is a better car than motorway mile munching reps deserve. One thing is certain – if they get handed the keys to one of these their days are going to become a lot more comfortable.

AT A GLANCE: Mazda6 2.2D 175ps saloon Sport Nav; £25,495; 2191ccDOHC diesel, 175ps, 420Nm; six speed manual gearbox; Top speed 139mph, 0-62mph 7.9secs; Fuel (62 litre tank) urban 51.4, extra urban 72.4, combined 62.8; CO2 119g/km; Will it fit the garage? 4870/1840/1450 (l/w/h).

© Wheelwrite 2013

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.