On the road in the New 2015 Mazda6

In Car Reviews, Mazda by Neil Lyndon

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Mazda6 Review | “Driving this car,” said a journalist at the recent launch of the new, refreshed Mazda6, “I kept asking myself why anybody would buy a Passat or a Mondeo instead?”

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He voiced my own thoughts. The very same question had been in mind. During an extended hurtle in the hills above the western reaches of the Clyde, shortly before it turns into the Irish Sea, I kept thinking, “In every way – build, comfort, looks, driving dynamics, load capacity – this car gives all non-premium, mid-size saloons and estates a real run for their money.”

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This is, of course, not a new thought. It dates from 2012 when the latest generation of the Mazda6 was introduced. Since it first appeared in 2002, the Mazda6 has always been a serious contender in the fleet sales market for business users who run up tens of thousands of miles a year; and, as a second-hand buy, it has been a top choice for families. But the latest, 2012, iteration was good enough to blur the distinctions that would keep an allegedly premium brand like Audi apart and justify their fancy prices. Yes – that good.

For the 2015 makeover, the front end has been given a light wash and brush-up, with a new grille and LED daytime running lights and LED fog lights that form a continuous wing shape (the adaptive LED headlights automatically dip to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic), Bright alloy 19” wheels give a more purposeful stance to an elegant outline which is almost as good-looking as a Jaguar XF.

Apart from those modifications, most of the major changes in the remodelled Mazda6 are to found inside. For the first time, an electronic parking brake has been fitted and a headlight function that keeps them shining to show you the way to and from the car in the dark. DAB is offered for the first time, controlled through a new seven-inch, full-colour central touch screen, which also provides internet connectivity and access to social networking.

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A new head-up display projects real-time driving data – such as speed and turn-by-turn navigation –  directly into the driver’s forward field of vision. A new safety pack has a plethora of new features, including Lane-Keep Assist and Driver Attention Alert (which detects and warns against driver fatigue), Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Rear Smart City Brake Support.

The 175ps 2.2 litre diesel Sport Nav Auto saloon I borrowed had the Stone Leather trim that is a standard fitment for that equipment level but its metallic paint costs an extra £660, bringing the total cost of the test car to £28735.

That’s not cheap compared with equivalent Mondeos and Passats but it’s a steal compared with Audis and Volvos that are not better to drive. A lovely balance and sharpness allows the driver to push on and turn in to corners in the Mazda6 with a fraction more enthusiasm than you might feel fully confident to allow if the car were sporting a VW or Ford badge.

The only thing wrong with this car is the marketing hot air that hangs around all Mazdas. Believe it or not, they are still putting out that embarrassing Zoom-Zoom nonsense that would make any Mazda-buyer a laughing-stock in the pub. And, on top of that, they are now going on about “SKYACTIV technologies”  and “KODO – Spirit of Motion” design. The meaning of each of these slogans is obscure to Mazda executives just as much as their customers.

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About the Author

Neil Lyndon


Neil Lyndon has been a journalist, broadcaster and writer on the UK's national stage for 40 years, writing for every "quality" newspaper on Fleet Street. He started writing about cars and motorbikes for The Sunday Times in the 1980s and was Motoring Correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph for 20 years, having previously written a column on motorbikes for Esquire. He is also recognised as a leading commentator on gender politics, having published No More Sex War in 1992 - the first ever critique of feminism from a radical, egalitarian point of view.

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