The new Mazda 6 has now arrived in Australia. Expect to see it in driveways, shopping centres and high streets all over our brown nation.
More power, less fuel required
Like the previous generation 6, and 626s before that, the new 6 comes in three body shapes: four-door sedan, five-door hatch and wagon. All are powered by a re-worked four-cylinder engine, now boasting a displacement of 2.5-litres (up from 2.3-litres). So, as expected, there's a little more power (125kW) and torque (226Nm).
The two transmissions on offer are a six-speed manual and five-speed automatic. In the manual sedan you can do the 0 to 100km/h dash in eight seconds flat. When driven more sedately Mazda claims that the same manual sedan will sip only 8.4L/100km.
Feel ethereality, sense dignity, touch exquisiteness
Car makers and car designers come up with some interesting ways of describing their creations and Mazda, it seems, is determined to be the kings of wacky design-speak. According to them, the 6's good looks derive from the contrast between yugen ("[the] ethereality that is reminiscent of the gracefulness of nature") and rin ("[the] dignity of form that communicates calm determination and strength") melded together in the spirit of seichi ("[the] exquisiteness expressed through precise craftsmanship and quality").
We think the words "well-built, sporty-looking family sedan" would've been sufficient. The new, bigger body is an edgier take on the design theme that served the first 6 so well. While the pumped up wheel arches link the car visually, if in no other way, with the RX-8.
Acres of serenity
All Mazda 6s now come with a 3.5mm auxiliary jack, so you can plug in your favourite MP3 player. If that's not enough MP3 goodness for you, all models can read MP3 files off CD discs too. Purchasers of the entry-level Limited model miss out on the steering wheel audio controls and six-disc in-dash CD stacker that everyone else gets.
Mazda also claims to have reduced the amount of external noise that gets into the cabin (road roar, engine noise, wind rush, etc.), a common complaint of the previous generation 6.
The cheapest way to drive away with a new 6 -- apart from thievery, obviously -- is to buy the sedan, as it's the only body style to come in basic Limited trim. Listed at AU$29,740 for the manual, the Limited is the only trim level in the entire line-up to miss out on alloy wheels.
Upgrade to the Classic (AU$33,880 for the manual sedan) and you get six speakers instead of four, 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights and dual-zone climate control air-con. In both the Limited and Classic trims, you'll have to pony up an additional AU$2,060 if you want the five-speed auto.
The sedan range is topped off by the Luxury variant (AU$43,610 auto only), which gets an eight speaker, 240W Bose sound system, xenon headlights and powered leather seats.
Luxurious yet sporty hatchling
Atop the 6 tree is the hatch-only Luxury Sports model. The manual's AU$44,650, while the auto will set you back AU$46,910. For your dosh you get a full body-kit and 18-inch alloy wheels in addition to the goodies in the Luxury model.
The hatch is also available in Classic and Luxury trims, which are as per the sedan except that they'll set you back an extra AU$1,030.
Haul kit, in style
If you don't want your 6 wagon in Classic trim with an auto box, well, umm, tough. Mind you, if you told us that the wagon is the most attractive variant of the new 6 range, we wouldn't argue ... too much.