Despite the popularity of SUVs in the marketplace, there is still an equally large niche that still preferably seen driving in a saloon, and without any doubt, the D-segment is still very much dominated by the Japanese brands. The Honda Accord and Toyota Camry are the most popular cars people buy, chiefly because they retain a higher resale value.
However, if you have driven a lot of cars in your lifetime, you’ll start noticing a pattern where cars like these aren’t usually as exciting as the ones in the lower segments. Sure, there’s the French and German and they’re pretty good cars. However, due to their higher-than-usual maintenance costs would turn some people off.
But, there’s a solution to this, where there’s a brand that is often swimming under the radar of the mainstream. Mazda makes interesting cars and the thing that it stands out the most is its dynamic styling both outside and inside. Likewise, the company’s engineering and attention to detail would make the other brands blush.
Of course, this is the Mazda6, and if anyone reading this would opt in getting one used, pre-owned, or would decide either to get the completely refreshed model should read as a reference point as to what has been updated in the newer model.
The sleek and sexy D-Segment saloon is the result of Mazda’s KODO design philosophy and applied on with great effect. It’s got chrome garnish that runs from the frame of the grille and integrated into the adaptive xenon headlamp cluster with new signature daytime running lamps.
Updated front signal repeaters and a slightly bigger lower intake with more chrome above the front fog lamps. Completing the saloon’s aggressive-expressive stance are 19-inch allow wheels finished in glossy gunmetal hue.
The interior of the Mazda6 has been revised as well; the centre console, the Mazda Connect touchscreen, steering wheel, instrument cluster and the heads up display received the most attention.
The biggest change here is the lower centre console now featuring cubbyhole with a retractable cover, a new Command controller and volume dial, and an electronic parking brake button replacing the good ol’ handbrake.
The front driver and passenger power adjustable seats provide easy and instant adjustability to suit the occupants’ preference. Both front seats provide good amount of comfort on long distances and are laterally supportive when the driving gets spirited.
Being a D-Segment saloon, the Mazda6 sits four adults comfortably with the possibility of fitting a fifth for short distances. Despite having a low greenhouse height, tall passengers can bask comfortably without winging regarding lack of space. The rear seats fold 60:40 and come with a retractable armrest with cupholders. Entry and exit at the rear is tall and wide and doesn’t obstruct occupants from getting in and out.
It comes a three-spoke steering wheel appears and feels a lot less bulky to hold, while housing more buttons for cruise control, audio and telephony. They feel good to the touch and provide tactile feedback. If you need to shift through the ratios, you can do so via the gear selector – pull down to go up a gear and push up to go down a gear.
The interior is well assembled with good fit and finish with an impressively upmarket aura. The glove box compartment is wide and deep which allows you to store bulky items inside and door bins are wide and deep. Again, like in all current Mazda cars, the Mazda6 GVC’s driver-centric cockpit provides essential driving information right at your fingertips.
Opening the rear trunk allows a wide access into its 483-litre boot with the rear seat up, fold them flat down and the Mazda6 carry a very useful 1,632 litres of luggage – a figure that’s much more competitive with the best in class.
Like in all new and current Mazda cars, the Mazda6 comes with a host of multimedia functions that meet the needs of the modern individual, it comes equipped with MZD Connect with a 7-inch LCD touchscreen display is intuitive and easy to use where quick learners can easily master its controls instantly.
Like all GVC equipped models, the Mazda Active Display heads-up-display positioned on the dashboard within driver’s line of sight, which displays current travelling speed and visual instructions from the navigation system in high resolution with improved legibility.
Sound reproduction comes from the Bose Surround audio system with a total of 11 speakers and dynamic noise compensation using a microphone hidden in the cabin. The bass sounds great, but can get overwhelming at times.
The petrol Mazda6 is owered by a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated direct-injection four-cylinder engine making 185hp at 5,700 rpm and 250Nm of torque at 3,250 rpm. Being a modern petrol engine, the Skyactiv-G boasts a linear power curve up to high engine speeds, which makes it drivable daily.
The sophisticated six-speed Skyactiv-Drive box fitted provides smooth and swift up- and downshift response with softer starts than a dual-clutch transmission and sustaining drive better than a CVT or conventional automatic at higher speeds.
What does this all mean in the real world? The 2.5-litre petrol engine provides power to accelerate the Mazda6 from 0-100km/h in 7.9 seconds and up to its 220km/h top speed without breaking a sweat. It’s frugal as well being able to achieve a frugal 4.9l/100km while driving conservatively within the legal speed limit.
Besides the fuel-efficient petrol engine, the midlife refreshed Mazda6 as tested here comes with the new G-Vectoring Control or GVC for short. How it works is actually rather simple; it is an electronic system that momentarily pauses ignition when the sensors determine steering angle and traveling speed, which makes the driver to make far lesser steering adjustments when turning.
The Mazda6 Skyactiv-G GVC not only looks good, but also handles way better than most of its rivals; better yet it is able to keep the occupants from feeling carsick. The interior is roomy and well put together with plenty of useful storage spaces.
Driving visibility is great; nothing gets in the way in the driver’s line of sight, while the door mounted wing mirrors free up space at the extreme edges of the door, which allows the driver to peek of where he or she is turning. Not only that, the seats provides comfort and support especially when the driving gets spirited.
That said, the Mazda6 Skyactiv-G GVC is one step above the previous model; with the help of the fine adjustments in engine output when turning into corners, the car drives more sure footedly through fast and tight bends, which gives the driver a lot of confidence and help them to drive a lot more smoother. Cutting to the chase, this big saloon is an enjoyable car to drive.
The front MacPherson struts up front and the multi-link suspension at the rear does a good job in keeping all four wheels on the ground even on acutely undulating road surfaces which plays an important role to its road holding, and does put a distance between the occupants from the vibrations below. The Bridgestone Turanza T001 complements the Mazda6 pretty well in terms of ride and road holding, and suits the tropical climate.
With good looks, practicality and drivability, the Mazda6 sedan hits the right spot. Although slightly expensive than its Japanese rival, the Mazda6 is a car that is mostly essence above abstract; many Mazda products including the 6, is all about the driving involvement and engagement, while placing less emphasis on the infotainment system and other things that may distract the driver.
The interior is well put together and with good materials, the Mazda6 has a premium aura, while the ride quality is pretty good, with minimal wind and road noise considering that it rides on large 19-inch allow wheels with low profile tyres. It’s also practical with cubby spaces to stow away lose items safely.
The MZD Connect Controller doesn’t require the driver to let their eyes off the road, where the large buttons and rotary dials are located intuitively. Personally, I did not use the touch screen at all, but instead navigating through the MZD Connect menu only with the Controller throughout my time with the Mazda6.
2.5-litre sound big these days especially with the proliferation of smaller direct-injection turbocharged engines in newer cars, but the Skyactiv-G line of petrol engines are frugal which doesn’t take a lot of effort in trying to use as less fuel as possible. But don’t let its frugality fool you as the engine can be just as powerful and responsive when it is needed. The refreshed model comes with newer features and technical updates, but if you’re planning to get this used or pre-owned, you can’t go wrong with this one for sure.
Mazda6 2.5 Skyactiv-G GVC
Price Msia: Est. RM128,000 (Used)
Engine: 2,488cc 16-valve DOHC, direct fuel injection, naturally-aspirated with variable valve timing
Power: 185 hp @ 5,700 rpm
Torque: 250 Nm @ 3,250 rpm
Fuel Economy: 4.9 L/100km
Transmission: Six-speed conventional automatic