CAR REVIEW: Mazda 6 Tourer
Right! Let’s get down to business, after all the Mazda 6 is primarily a car that’s aimed directly at business users. Shall we do the figures first? Pick a Mazda 6 with a 148 bhp diesel engine and you’ll not only get the promise of 67.3mpg but also the added benefit of a lowly CO2 emission figure; just 116g/km. Or, to put it another way, in mid range SE spec with all important sat-nav – we wouldn’t want Dave from accounts getting lost on the way to an important meeting now would we? A Mazda 6 is more powerful, cleaner, and has cheaper BIK taxation than either of the business car bench marks that are the 1.6 TDi VW Passat Bluetech or the ubiquitous Ford Mondeo. Whether you’re bothered about the bean counting or not, you have to admit that’s impressive stuff.
But fear not, Mazda’s 6 is far more than just another shiny suit and polyester tie with wheels on: it’s more of a sharp suit in fact. From the outside even, the Tourer (that’s estate to you and me) is a fine looking car. At a whisker longer than a Mercedes E-class and designed, they say, to mimic an animal in motion, it’s arguably one of the most handsome estates – sorry, I mean Tourers – on the market. With its chrome window surrounds and “wing” in the front grille, silver roof rails and daytime running lights, you’d easily be forgiven for thinking it’s a car from the class above.
Inside however things aren’t quite as dynamically attractive. The 6 gets virtually the same three-dial dashboard as Mazda’s CX5 SUV. It’s very clear, well laid out and easy to read, but whether or not it’s quite what the marketing department’s “a machine which defy’s convention” tag-line had you imagining, is a matter of opinion. Nevertheless it is reassuringly well screwed together though, and the use of soft-touch materials is first-class, as are the soft yet supportive seats and low driving position that goes with them.
Needless to say, the list of standard equipment makes sure that today’s business user wants for nothing. Keyless entry, heated electrically adjustable seats, cruise-control, voice activated Bluetooth, USB connectivity, dual-zone climate control, DSC and traction control were all to be found in the Sport spec Tourer I spent time with. Though quite why anyone needs a BMW I-Drive-like rotary control to operate the multimedia system, which incidentally is touchscreen, remains a mystery – as does the lack of a digital radio.
So it’s well equipped, attractive, and best of all cheap to run, but is it any good to drive?
Well, yes it is. The 6’s ride might have a slightly firm edge but it’s nothing like as firm riding as some of the suspension set-ups favoured by its more Germanic competition, even when on its optional 19 inch alloys. Add to that nicely weighted and direct feeling steering, and a positive and smooth shifting short-throw gear-change that reminds you that Mazda also make the world’s best selling sports-car, and you can’t help but appreciate the contribution Mazda’s all new SKYACTIVE technology makes.
SKYACTIVE? I almost forgot to mention that. It’s Mazda’s all-encompassing philosophy that brings together advanced materials, more efficient structures and new production processes, to create a lightweight and ultra-stiff chassis; resulting in outstanding levels of crashworthiness without compromising vehicle dynamics.
Oh, and there’s i-Eloop too, a regenerative braking system that, when you lift off the throttle charges a capacitor which in-turn helps power all of those aforementioned electronic goodies, minimizes strain on the alternator and improves fuel consumption. And, you also get Smart City Braking Support which uses radar to sense for stationary objects in your path and brake automatically if you as the driver don’t see them.
Packed with technology, comfy, and capacious – the 6 genuinely is a 5 seater, the boot’s huge too – and surprisingly good to drive. What more could you ask for from a day in the (mobile) office?
Mazda 6 2.2 Tourer Sport Nav (175bhp)
Engine: 2191cc 4Cyl 16V turbo-diesel
Transmission: 6 Speed Manual, Front wheel drive.
Power: 175 bhp @ 4500pm
Torque: 309 lbft @ 2000rpm
0-62MPH: 8.0 Sec
Max Speed: 137 mph
CO2: 121 g/km
MPG: 67.3 combined