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Tony O'Kane | Mar 17, 2010

MAZDA HAS launched the 2010 Mazda6 range in Australia this week, with a luxury wagon variant now joining the line-up and with a number of cosmetic, mechanical and equipment upgrades applied to the range.

Although not a true mid-life facelift (the second-generation GH Mazda6 has only been on sale here since 2008), the 2010 Mazda6 range offers better value thanks to its updated visuals, interior refinements and reduced pricing.

Styling

The most obvious changes are external, with the front bumper reshaped in line with the wide-grinned visages of the Mazda3, CX-7 and CX-9.

The rectangular lower air-dam is gone, replaced by a roughly pentagonal opening, while the foglight enclosures are now taller and separated from the lower grille.

The updated upper grille is now bisected by a thick bar, but retains its triangular shape. Headlights and tail-lights also feature updated lenses and reflectors.

One other external element that’s new for 2010 is a pair of small air diversion panels mounted under the car, just ahead of the front wheels.

By channeling air around the wheel wells, they reduce turbulence and improve aerodynamic efficiency.

Available in sedan, hatch or wagon variants, there are no changes to the Mazda6 range’s metal bodywork for 2010. Rear bumper designs carry over too, however two new wheel designs freshen up the exterior styling.

The base model Limited is fitted with 16-inch steel wheels and is a sedan-only proposition, while the Classic, Diesel, Touring and Luxury get 17-inch alloys.

The Luxury Sports and Diesel Sports are shod with 18-inch lightweight alloy wheels.

The Classic can be had in all bodystyles, but the Diesel and Touring are available only as wagons. The Luxury comes in sedan form, while the Luxury Sports and Diesel Sports are hatchback only.

Interior

Cabin fittings are essentially identical to last year’s model, but with a number of trim changes to update its appearance.

There’s more chrome, the centre console now features an attractive piano-black, and the door cards have been revamped for the new model.

Changes to the labelling of the centre stack buttons and instrument panel make them easier to read, and steering wheel switches have been modified to make them more intuitive to use.

A tilt and reach-adjustable steering wheel is standard for all Mazda6 variants, as are power windows and mirrors.

The base Mazda6 Limited sedan gets cloth trim and manually-adjusted front seats, while the Classic adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The upper-spec Mazda6 Touring wagon and Mazda6 Luxury models receive leather upholstery and electric front seats, while the latter also gets a blackout instrument cluster, a leather-wrapped gearknob and shift paddles for its tiptronic automatic gearbox.

The range-topping Mazda6 Luxury Sports and Diesel Sports also get all of the above interior appointments, along with alloy sports pedals.

Equipment

The base model Limited is equipped with airconditioning, cruise control, remote central locking and a four-speaker single CD player with an auxillary audio input.

Mazda6 Classic models feature dusk-sensing headlights, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, a trip computer, Bluetooth phone integration and a six-speaker, six-disc in-dash CD stacker.

The wagon-only Mazda6 Touring gets all of the above plus parking sensors, while the Luxury gets a power-operated glass sunroof, an auto-dimming rear view mirror, xenon headlamps, LED taillights and an 8-speaker Bose premium sound system.

Luxury Sports variants are equipped to the same level as the Luxury, but with the addition of active cornering lights to their xenon headlamp clusters. The Diesel Sports gets roughly the same fit-out as the Luxury Sports, but loses the sunroof.

A satellite navigation system with seven-inch LCD touch screen is available on the Luxury, Luxury Sports and Diesel Sports for an extra $2800.

Safety equipment for all variants comprises ABS, stability control, traction control, emergency brakeforce distribution (EBD), brake assist (BA), anti-whiplash front headrests and front, side and curtain airbags.

Mechanical

Two engines are available in the Mazda6 range, one petrol and one diesel.

The petrol engine is the familiar 2.5 litre inline four that produces 125kW and 226Nm, while the 2.2 litre turbodiesel diesel develops 132kW and 400Nm of torque.

For 2010, the diesel has been revised with a new turbocharger designed to maximize throttle response and improve acceleration.

Diesel-powered models are only available with a six-speed manual, however petrol-engined variants can be had with either the manual or a five-speed automatic.

The Luxury petrol is only sold in automatic guise, but with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters as standard.

The Luxury Sports petrol can be had with either the six-speed manual or the five-speed automatic, but petrol wagons are auto-only.

All models, of course, are front-wheel-drive only.

Manual petrol variants consume between 8.3-8.5 l/100km on the combined cycle, while auto petrol models use between 8.7- 8.9 l/100km. The manual diesel models use 5.9 l/100km.

Front suspension is a double-wishbone type, while the rear suspension is a multi-link design. For the updated model, both front and rear suspension set-ups have come in for some attention.

The bushes on the strut mounts and perimeter-frame mounts have been revised at the front end (along with the dampers), while at the rear, the trailing bushes have been repositioned to reduce shock over bumps. The rear end also gets revised dampers as well as more rigid suspension mounts for improved NVH.

The steering rack is electrically assisted, and features revised settings to improve turning response and feel for 2010 models. Braking hardware consists of 299mm ventilated discs at the front, and 280mm solid discs at the rear.

Pricing

The 2010 Mazda 6 range is on sale now, with pricing as follows. All prices do not include on-road costs.

Mazda6 Limited Sedan: $27,310

Mazda6 Classic Sedan: $31,750

Mazda6 Classic Hatch: $32,750

Mazda6 Classic Wagon: $35,050

Mazda6 Diesel Wagon: $36,250

Mazda6 Touring Wagon: $38,120

Mazda6 Luxury Sedan: $40,905

Mazda6 Luxury Sports Hatch: $41,415

Mazda6 Diesel Sports Hatch: $42,815

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