I’ve always liked the shape of the Mazda6, it blends futuristic with sporty, in a cool Dr Who in Adidas Trainers kind of way. The Sport Hatch variant with the full bodykit and 17 inch wheels certainly adds to the effect. Step inside and you will immediately get the sense that it feels bigger on the inside than it looks from outside. By all accounts a bit Tardis-like, then.
The interior trim continues the space-age theme, with splashes of aluminium and smoked silver contrasting nicely against black. Add to this the circular multipoise air vents, neatly arranged controls and the atmospheric red backlit displays and you have all the makings of a successful command centre from which to monitor your progress. So far, so good then for any prospective distance (or time) traveller.
Whilst en route to your next encounter you can relax in comfort levels more commonly found in your favourite Gentleman’s and Time Lords’-only club. As you sink into the soft leather seats and bathe yourself in the sumptuous aural experience emanating from the six CD (in dash) 200 watt Bose Sound system, you get a real sense of ‘everything’s under control’. And it is too.
The Mazda in 5-speed Activematic form goes about everyday life without much drama or fuss, requiring little from the human at the controls. This is good, because you are going to need to spend more time paying attention to the highly italicized speedo display.
At low speeds there is a distinct lack of velocitorial sensation one normally associates with progress. If this wasn’t a car I’d swear the inertial dampers were over-compensating. It’s just too easy to pass lower speed limits without knowing, which presents the real danger of attracting unwanted attention (is there any other kind?) from the Rozzers patrolling that part of space. Let’s be careful out there.
So how does this Tardis-like device get about? Well, the core power of this Mazda 6 (2.3 Ltd) presents something of an anomaly, even to the Dr. Displacing 2.3 litres, with twin-cams and four valves per cylinder it’s certainly at the beefier end of the four cylinder powerplant universe, but only manages to produces 122kW @ 6,500rpm. As you’d expect from the capacity it’s a bit lumpy at the lower end, almost like a refined diesel Ã la Mercedes Benz.
As you accelerate (0-100 takes 9 seconds) it only really shows interest in generating ‘Impulse power’ after 4500rpm, by which point you’ve already had your 207Nm of torque served up. Navigate quickly through some twisty stuff and you’ll be pleased to find there is an excellent chassis underneath you. Combined with accurate steering there is some fun to be had, with only the slightest whiff of understeer.
So its easy to drive, yes, even the Doctor’s Great Granny could manage a respectable blast to another universe, deal with the Daleks and get back in time for tea. Zoom zoom zoom? Well not quite, but in order to get the best from the engine and the most from the chassis, you will need the 6-speed manual to up the grin factor.
So in summary, the Mazda6 is very similar to a black hole with its ability to swallow up time and distance easily. Probably not quite Dr Who in trainers, but maybe more junior executive or sales rep in slippers.
Oh yes, and next time you look up at the stars in the night sky and wonder ‘where to next’ consider this, Mazda have now produced more cars than you can see visible stars. That’s a staggering 40 million.
Price: from $49,915
- Exterior design — one of the best looking around
- Bose sound system – every car should have one, especially with speed adjusted volume control
- Handling — chassis is a delight
- Steering — sharp and responsive
- Economy — 8.9 L/100km
- Engine — sounds strained at higher revs
- Stealth-like capabilities on lower speed limits – seriously
- Lack of traction control
- Cruise control — wanders a bit slightly +/- km/h at times
Words Phil Clark, photos Darren Cottingham