It’s hard to imagine that the original Mazda6 is now close to being eight years old. It looks as contemporary now as it did at launch, with its delightfully detailed lamp housings dominating its appearance at both ends, elevating it beyond others in the same class.
The Honda Accord and Toyota Camry of the same generation just look plain ancient parked next to it. Familiarity might work against the two popular Japanese sedans, and in the same vein, the Mazda6’s measly sales figures make it a unique sight on our roads.
The design language that was highly applauded on the RX-8 translated very well to the firm’s bread and butter sedan, while its stylish circular-themed interior is just as successful as well.
Whereas the Toyota and Honda relied on their sheer size to attract buyers (and truth be told in Malaysia, size is everything), Mazda chose an altogether different route, focussing more on achieving class-leading dynamic prowess to appeal to emotionally-driven hearts rather than boring, calculative brains.
Designed as a mid-size entry on a global scale with ‘Zoom-Zoom’ philosophy, the Mazda6 is not exactly a direct rival to the Camry and Accord, being significantly smaller both inside and out. Tall adults would be more comfortable in the others, but very few will complain of having inadequate space in the back of the Mazda either.
Perceived build quality is excellent by Japanese standards (it was, and still is, a CBU import from Japan) with excellent fit and finish to boot. Soft-touch plastics line the top of the dash, and mercifully there’s no faux-wood to be found anywhere. The dashboard is filled with such flair and stylistic liberties that it stands in such a stark contrast to the usuals’ sober workman-like cabins.
Officially launched here in September 2004 by C&C Bintang (the franchise holders at that time), two engine choices were made available – 2.0 and 2.3-litre MZR 4-cylinder engines. Neither offers breakneck speed so the smaller engine strikes a better balance between performance and affordability, though the 2.3’s twin tailpipes may prove irresistible to some. However, the larger version never sold in any significant numbers so it’s a very rare car.
Used prices for the Mazda 6 have not dropped as much as the sceptics had first projected, as they are now worth just a bit less than a Honda or Toyota alternative of the same age and condition, both lauded for having rock-solid residuals. A few early models have been spotted falling just below RM70,000 in our classifieds listings, an absolute bargain to those in the know. Showing some elegant individualism has never been cheaper.[Hafriz Shah]
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