Mazda 6 Sport review (2015)

Fun for the family

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  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Good fuel economy with petrol saving aids
  • Spacious and well upholstered interior
  • Graphically rich and easy to use infotainment system
  • Well priced

Cons

  • Small engine

Would you buy this?

FIVE fully grown men sat in the Mazda 6 an hour into a drive. “There’s so much room in here,” one said. We’ll call him Adam, because that’s what his parents call him.

The drive was largely uneventful. The weather was 19-degrees en route to Terrey Hills in NSW, music was playing and conversation was the usual jest expected from men foregoing civility.

This could only take place in an accommodating car, one comfortable and well equipped. A slower car would’ve turned the passengers into back seat drivers. An argument would’ve broke out over having the windows down or the air-conditioning on. An ‘insufficient’ music system would’ve killed the ambience. But with our needs met, the car disappeared into the day’s backdrop and made it possible to appreciate one another’s company.

In this sense, the Mazda 6 is a family car. Cabin space is plentiful and the boot is large at 474-litres. Aluminium inserts — on the steering wheel and air conditioning vents — add a premium touch to a car priced little over $32,000. Attention has been paid to small details, such as the navigation knob, which turns with a ‘tick’ like the wheel of a safe.

It is well equipped with six airbags, dual-zone climate control and a 7-inch “MZD Connect” infotainment system, complete with a reverse parking camera and GPS navigation. Mazda’s ‘infotainment’ system is well above average, with software that is graphically rich and easy to use.

Here’s the irony: the Mazda 6 is not a family car, at least not in the conventional sense. Its tiny 2.5-litre, 4-cylinder engine produces only 138kW. Compare it to the 210kW engine of the Commodore SV6 and the Mazda begins to look out of its element.

Take fuel economy into consideration and the Mazda 6 makes crystalline sense. Petrol is expensive and the modern family is conscious of the environment. Those interested in spending less time at the bowser and more time saving Mother Earth will want the Mazda6 as part of their family.

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It has an engine that cuts out when stationary and it powers the car’s electronics from energy saved when braking. These measures keep fuel usage down to a quoted 6.6-litres for every hundred kilometres. Or when it is being used by a foot-heavy journalist, 9.1-litres in the real world. Compare it to the 13.5-litre consumption of the Subaru Liberty 3.6R reviewed a few weeks ago and the Mazda 6 matures into an attractive proposition.

Often it silently purrs on streets, the suspension taking bumps and potholes in its stride, to deliver a comfortable and fuss free drive. Toggle a button reading “sports” and the car shows the other side of its persona.

The engine will grow audible as it revs out at 6300rpm — maximum torque is at 5700. Manual gear changes are met with some kickback. Down gear and the engine whines ahead of falling revs. This is not a sports car with a stiff ride and deafening exhaust note; it’s an economical family sedan that retains a sense of excitement.

Mazda 6 Sport gallery (13 photos)

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