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2013 Mazda6 Touring Diesel Sedan Snapshot Review Photo:
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What's Hot
Frugal, smooth, quiet - with interior space to rival large cars.
What's Not
Luggage space is tight, price is a little high.
X-Factor
This great looker offers a premium interior and the frugal fuel bills of an upper-class Euro.
Kez Casey | Aug, 16 2013 | 17 Comments

2013 Mazda6 REVIEW

Vehicle Style: Medium sedan
Price: $40,350 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 129kW/420Nm 4cyl diesel | 6spd auto
Fuel Economy listed: 5.4 l/100km | tested: 6.3 l/100km

 

OVERVIEW

That age-old promise of small car fuel bills and large car comfort has been trotted out by manufacturers since Adam was a pup.

So is Mazda blowing hot air with its claims of the Mazda6?

Not so. Sure, the larger dimensions of the swoopy new 6 are obvious, and the resulting interior space will surely be welcomed by families.

But fuel use from this free-spinning diesel is better than respectable - it’s down into small car territory - and, importantly, not at the detriment of acceleration; it can hitch up its skirts and run in a way its petrol counterpart just cannot muster.

NOTE: This is a brief snapshot review of the Mazda6. Click here for more Mazda6 news and reviews.

 

INTERIOR

You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d grabbed the keys to a top-shelf model, such is the presentation of the Touring’s interior.

Using a style-guide borrowed from the impressive CX-5, the Mazda6 employs high-grade materials across the board, with inviting plastics and soft leather trim.

Sadly, the integrated sat-nav looks a little aftermarket, and there was a persistent (but faint) rattle from both front door handles. Aside from that everything else impresses.

That soft leather we mentioned - you’ll want it on your sofa. Soft trims in fact are everywhere, with inviting seats, headrests and bolsters.

Front seats offer ample space in every direction, and, in the rear, there’s generous legroom. We could sit a 6’2” passenger behind a driver of the same height with no complaint.

Taller passengers need to duck getting in and out of the rear though; that arching roofline adds sex appeal but shaves off a little practicality. Once settled, headroom isn’t as heavily penalised however.

Standard in the Touring model are leather trim, powered driver’s seat, dual zone climate control, front and rear park sensors, push-button start, i-stop (engine stop/start) and i-ELOOP (a capacitor for storing electrical energy to power ancillaries, reducing alternator load).

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On board entertainment is provided buy a 5.8 inch touch-screen, which includes navigation, AM/FM/CD/MP3 playback, USB and 3.5mm inputs and Bluetooth audio and telephony. Sound reproduction is handled by 11 Bose speakers.

While the exterior is longer and the interior more roomy, the shallow boot isn’t so lucky There’s only 438 litres back there.

There’s extra depth available at each side, and the rear seats can be folded from within the boot to cart longer items. There also ample cabin storage.

 

ON THE ROAD

There’s no black magic at work from start-up; at idle, the muted rattle from under the bonnet is characteristically diesel.

Once rolling though, the tone changes and the engine adopts a deep growly tone.

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But with a free-spinning nature and brisk acceleration, you could be fooled into thinking you’d picked up the keys to a turbocharged petrol car.

With 129kW of power at 4500rpm and peak torque of 420Nm occuring at 2000rpm, there’s little chance to catch the 2.2 litre SkyActiv D diesel engine napping.

Smooth as revs rise, it can easily keep pace in the cut-and-thrust of city work, and is a breeze on the highway.

The six-speed automatic transmission delivers smooth shifts, maybe not as quick as a DSG transmission, but perfectly suited to this application.

Although the transmission will strive to keep revs low, its not hard to feed a few more revs in if required. Kickdown response can be a little slow, but there’s ample torque when some extra urgency is called for.

The ride is comfortable, and the Touring’s 17-inch wheels and tyres are more forgiving than the 19-inch wheels on higher-spec cars.

Hustled through a series of bends the Mazda6 holds up very well. Maybe it’s not quite the sharp handler the original 6 was, but given the massive step-up in refinement, its an acceptable compromise.

NOTE: This is a brief snapshot review of the Mazda6. Click here for more Mazda6 news and reviews.

 

TMR VERDICT | OVERALL

This new 6 shows just how appealing a good mid-sizer can be (something BMW knows a bit about with its 3 Series).

We’d suggest the diesel of our test car does its best work on loping country excursions, but is certainly at home in the city where that miserly fuel consumption will be really appreciated.

The long wheelbase of the sedan (it’s longer than the wagon) translates to a very spacious rear seat. For those looking to carry larger cargo though, the more versatile wagon may be a better fit.

Despite the $2850 premium for the diesel model over its petrol equivalent, the added urge from the torque-rich engine and frugal fuel bills make Mazda’s seemly 6 a must-drive for anyone considering a mid-size sedan.

 
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