But that was then and the latest generation now boasts – amongst other things – improved driveability, a fresh new frontal look and equipment upgrade. The latter includes a redesigned instrument cluster, Mazda’s MZD connectively system along with new seats. And thanks to the Free Trade Agreement between Australia and Japan, the revamped 6 is also cheaper than the model it replaces (in all variants except the Touring diesel).
But the thing we were really keen to test was Mazda’s claims of improved levels of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) – 10 percent better over rough roads and 25 percent on highways. While hard to quantify, we can report that the new 6 is indeed markedly smoother and quieter in all aspects.
It also offers a more compliant ride, thanks to Mazda tweaking the suspension. Overall, our mid-range Touring wagon proved to be one impressive drive, also due in part to the addition of a Sport button that kicks the six-speed auto down a gear or two and sharpens throttle response when required.
Maximum power is 8kW at 5700rpm, while 250Nm of torque peaks at 3250rpm. 0-100km/h comes up in 8.2 seconds. Over some 500km of varied driving and conditions, the 2.5-litre SkyActiv four-cylinder returned 7.6 litres/100km on ULP, a respectable 1.0 litre above its ADR combined average.