Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good This current model is the 2nd generation 6, arriving Down Under at the beginning of 2008 (the refreshed mid life facelift arrived in March 2010), wearing a sleek new body style with equal amounts of bold curves and sharp character lines. Unlike many competitors, Mazda worked hard to ensure this model didn’t put on too many extra kilos over the outgoing model (this model is stiffer, bigger & safer than the previous model so of course it has got a little ‘heavier’ but no one will really notice).
Not so good The 6 is a very modern design (featuring most of the signature styling themes of the late ‘noughties’) - so we hope it won’t date faster than more conservatively designed competitors.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good Interior quality and design is a leap forward over the previous model (which was by no means shabby); we love the funky circular dials in the instrument panel and rear seat passenger space has also significantly improved. The rear seats have a brilliantly simple folding mechanism for when you need to carry extra large or unusually shaped loads.
Not so good The 6 has a slightly less luxurious feel inside when compared to the Honda Accord Euro; (however, you may prefer the more ‘sporty’ feel of the 6’s cabin?).
Performance

Performance

Good The four-cylinder Petrol engine has grown in size from the previous 2.3L to 2.5L and with it comes a little extra power (122kW up to 125kW) and a more noticeable rise in torque (207Nm up to 226Nm); even at low revs the performance feels more than adequate. The 2.2L Turbo Diesel offers impressive performance, especially considering the fuel economy on offer.
Not so good The 2.2L Turbo Diesel engine isn’t the smoothest sounding or quietest Diesel in the segment. Whilst the six-speed manual in the Petrol 6 has a light feel to its clutch, the Turbo Diesel’s clutch has a heavy feel which could get tiring in day-to-day urban driving.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good The electric power steering is a similar system used in the RX-8 (the previous 6 featured hydraulic steering) and we’re happy to say that the steering feel is as responsive and sharp as ever. This is the Medium hatch for the buyer who longs for a sports car yet requires a Medium family sized body style – the chassis really is superb; this is a truly enjoyable choice to drive over twisty country roads. Body control always stays composed and it’s rarely noticeable that the 6 is a front-wheel drive vehicle – another sign that the engineers at Mazda have created a nicely balanced Medium!
Not so good The ride in the 6 is definitely more firm than most competitors (a trade-off for excellent handling!?) In the couple of different current generation 6’s we’ve driven road noise is more evident inside the cabin (most audible in the rear seat) than most competitors and more so when the 6 is riding on the largest 18-inch alloys.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good The 6 hatch range offers a great range of trim levels - all offering value for money (within a competitive price band stretching $10k). Our pick is the Classic trim grade which we think offers the best value for money of all 6’s. The 2.5L four-cylinder engine can be filled with regular Unleaded Petrol unlike a number of competitors which require the more expensive Premium Unleaded.
Not so good The 2.2L Turbo Diesel engine only comes with a manual transmission; so if you’re a Diesel fan but don’t wish to change the gears yourself, you may need to look elsewhere for the time being.