Mazda is launching the second-generation version of the Mazda6, which has been the best-selling mid-sized new car in New Zealand since its launch six years ago
The Mazda 6 middleweight spearheaded the marque’s Zoom-Zoom rebranding, and has struck a chord with New Zealand car buyers, both in NZ-new Mazda6 guise and as the Japanese used import Atenza. The second generation 6 is bigger and roomier than its predecessor and has a bigger engine – a 2.5-litre in place of the older car’s 2.3. Mazda says that despite the bigger bodywork and engine, the new car delivers strong fuel economy which undercuts similar cars from rival manufacturers.
It quotes the new Mazda6 Limited hatch manual as using 8.6 litres/100km on the combined urban and highway cycle, and says the 2.0-litre manual sedan can achieve 7.7 litres/100km. It’s selling the new 6 in sedan, hatch and wagon body styles which are all longer, wider, taller, ride on a longer wheelbase, and have roomier interiors than their predecessors.
Using the gram strategy pioneered with the new MX-5 sports car and Mazda2 hatch, the kerb weight increase has been kept to between 50 and 85 kilograms, depending on the model. The gram strategy requires engineers to justify every gram of weight in every component and make each piece as light as possible. It was adopted for the bigger, better appointed new MX-5 to retain the feel and handling of the original, less highly-equipped model. The Mazda6’s newly-developed MZR 2.5-litre engine is mated to either a five-speed auto or six-speed manual gearbox.
The new engine is more powerful, quieter and more fuel efficient than the previous 2.3. The new 6’s bodywork/chassis makes greater use of high tensile steel to reduce weight: a side effect is improved rigidity and stiffness. Other safety features include six airbags, active head restraints, ABS, EBD and EBA standard on all models. The Limited grade also gets DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) and TCS (Traction Control System). A new CF-Net (Cross Functional Network) enables the driver to control all systems, such as audio, navigation, air conditioning and the trip computer while keeping hands on the steering wheel. Mazda designers have striven to give the new 6 a sportier and more aggressive look than the first-generation model. It has accentuated wheelarches, short overhangs, sharp-angled headlights and a new version of Mazda’s five-point grille.
According to Mazda those styling elements “all scream sports car”, which seems a large dose of hyperbole. Mazda’s designers have come up with a practical new luggage compartment design, with wide rear openings – even close to the boot opening. That’s intended to ensure that loading heavy suitcases or bulky equipment requires less effort because they can be stowed closer to the boot opening. Despite the increase in size and equipment, the new Mazda6 range starts $2500 lower than the outgoing line-up. The cheapest model is a 2.0-litre, six-speed manual sedan, at $35,795. The highest-priced model is the Hatch Limited with five-speed automatic, at $48,195. The Mazda6 is available in 10 exterior colours.
Mazda 6 model breakdown
There are three Mazda6 equipment grades: GLX, GSX and Limited. The GLX sedan and wagon ride on 16-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers. The cars have body-coloured power door mirrors, air-conditioning, cruise control, keyless entry, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, CD/MP3 audio system with four speakers and an auxiliary jack, front and rear power windows, six airbags, ABS, electronic brake assist and active front head restraints.
The GSX is available in all body styles and adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, dual-zone climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, lumbar adjustment in the front seats, trip computer, six-disc in-dash CD player with six speakers and steering wheel-mounted auxiliary controls. The top of the range Limited sedan and hatch have a full leather interior, power sunroof, blackout instrument cluster, leather-wrapped gear knob, paddle shift gear control, electrically-adjustable front seats and a premium Bose 240-watt sound system. Limiteds also get 18-inch alloy wheels, a full sports body kit which includes aero bumper with sports grille side skirts and rear spoiler, and aluminium pedals and footrest.
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