The Mazda6, the replacement for the bland looking and bland-to-drive 626, has deservedly proved a hit with buyers of medium size cars since debut in 2002.
Its six appeal is more than skin deep with the still-fresh, sporty styling concealing a car that satisfies a keener driver’s urges.
What you get
Mazda initially offered eleven variants of the 6, so used buyers are spoilt for choice with sedan, five-door hatch and station wagon body styles. And there were four basic specification levels starting with the Limited, the Classic, the Luxury and the top-rung Luxury Sports. Transmission choices, model dependent, was either a four-speed Activematic (Mazda’s tiptronic shift) auto or five-speed manual.
The popular mid-range Classic’s standard kit included ABS with EBD, climate control, 15” alloys, six-stack CD, dual front airbags and leather-bound steering wheel.
An August 2005 upgrade brought slight styling refreshments, equipment upgrades, some suspension re-tuning, and reduced cabin noise levels. New gearboxes, namely a five-speed Activematic auto or six-speed manual were the most significant improvement, benefiting driveability and fuel economy.
Later that year the performance-enhanced 2.3-litre turbo-charged, all-wheel-drive manual-only 6 MPS sedan joined the flock. More recently an excellent manual-only, turbo-diesel wagon expanded the range.
How it drives
The Mazda’s 2.3-litre all-alloy engine delivers a satisfying balance between good performance and respectable fuel economy, though the required brew is PULP. Autos are most popular and prove decent to drive, the sequential manual shift adding a sporty flavour. For more hyperactive performance, hunt down a 6 MPS.
A taut, composed and comfortable ride balanced with excellent handling ensures even the more demanding driver is rewarded. Inside, the Mazda makes effective use of its body dimensions providing good passenger and boot space. A classy interior and good build quality round out the package.
On the reliability front it’s good news, with problems more likely to be through lack of service or from normal wear. Check for careful scheduled servicing especially engine oil, coolant and brake fluids to avoid sludge or corrosion problems. Inspect also for tyre, brake or clutch wear.
Under the pump
Mazda6 (petrol, non-turbo) will use between 8.0 litres and 12.0 litres of fuel every 100km, depending on model and driving conditions.
What will it cost?
For an indication of what you would pay for this vehicle please go to CD's online car price guide or our Car review Advice Service on 07 3666 9148 or 623 456 outside the Brisbane area.
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