The Mazda 6 was voted Best Family Friendly Car in the
OHbaby! Awards so Royce and Angela Pedersen took it for a spin to
see what everyone was talking about.
What he says
The Mazda 6 is the car that, back in 2002, shot Mazda to the front
of the crowd with almost 13,000 sales. This blew away its Kiwi
competitors and the trend continues right up to the current model.
The Mazda 6 incorporates features that other car makers had been on
the verge of releasing, but Mazda beat them to it. Sleek sculpted
lines, widened wheelbase, increased capacity and attention to
detail in comfort, ergonomics and quality is what set the Mazda 6
apart and continues to do so today.
I have mentioned The Dog & Lemon Guide
in previous reviews because, while more than a little
tongue-in-cheek in many places, the publication is arguably the
best one-stop guide to buying a new or second-hand car.
It details many factors that one must
consider, such as reliability, fuel usage, common problems, safety,
quality and resale value.
While the reviews are hilarious and laced
with dry cynicism (and sometimes quite harsh criticism), it makes
for a good read and is surprisingly accurate.
Why am I telling you all this? Well the
Mazda 3, 6 and related models get the highest rating available, and
very little - if any - criticism. This speaks volumes, and should
go a long way in influencing buyers' decisions.
The latest (2008 to
present) model of the Mazda 6 features sleeker lines
and more of a European look compared with its earlier models, while
also sporting a bigger engine and larger
footprint. The hatch model offers a five-speed auto
transmission or a six-speed manual - which historically has
been restricted to top-end performance vehicles. The six-speed
transmission is fantastic for cruising on the open road and yields
better fuel economy. Add to this a five-star NCAP safety rating,
traction control and an eight-speaker Bose stereo and you have the
perfect mid-sized family vehicle.
We took the Mazda 6 Limited Sedan for a
drive from Auckland to Mt Maunganui. It really is designed for the
open road and glided around corners as if it were on rails,
accelerating with ease when required. Inside, you are confronted
with an aesthetically pleasing cockpit and dashboard, designed for
your driving pleasure. The seats are very comfortable and fully
adjustable electronically, and you can save three seat position
configurations to memory with the press of a button. Or even
better, you can have this programmed into your key so when you
unlock the car, it adjusts the seat and mirrors to suit your
High on my list of likes is the ability to
make technical changes and view technical information, such as
driving conditions, engine management and driver environment. The
Mazda 6 is a little light on these features but all of the
important ones are there. I would like to see all car manufacturers
adding sonar cruise control to their cars. Sonar cruise control
allows you to set a speed limit to which your car will drive unless
it's right behind another car - when it will adjust your speed to
allow a safe following distance. It's great for those long trips
when you are in heavy traffic or following an erratic driver.
The model we drove had a 2.3-litre motor
which had 125kw of power. I couldn't help wondering how great
it would be to drive the 2-litre turbo model. It's fair to say the
handling and braking capabilities were well matched with the power
output, and this is a very important ratio to which Mazda has
devoted a lot of effort. Fuel economy is rated at 8.7 litres per
100km. I found it to be more around the 9-plus mark but that can be
put down to my heavy right foot which gets me into trouble with my
wife more than anything!
Finally, the Mazda 6 has great storage
capability. While we were away my wife did what all good wives do
and bought, among other things, a giant mirror. With a bit of
pushing we got it in inside and transported it safely back to
Auckland, along with our luggage. The only problem in terms of
storage is that in the sedan model you can't fold the rear seats
forward. Some may see this as a fatal flaw but other sedans also
have this problem. Some may opt instead to invest in the hatch or
station wagon models which have more potential with the seats
folded. Interestingly, our research revealed that, with seats in
place, the sedan had more space than both the hatch and station
wagon - 519 litres compared with 477 litres in the wagon and 499
litres in the hatch. However, with the seats folded the wagon
had 1751 litres and the hatch 1702 litres.
The Mazda 6 gets the thumbs up in terms of
family friendliness. The kids loved it, especially the sun roof
which was a first for them. Our 22-month-old son kept saying,
"Daddy, open roof, Daddy, open roof!" It was fun for the whole
If you are looking for a mid-sized vehicle
for the family or a run-about for work, the Mazda 6 will see you
zooming around in style and comfort which will keep you planted
firmly in the Mazda camp for years to come.
What she says
Reviewing the Mazda 6 was a natural choice for us after it won gold
in the OHbaby! Awards this year. And I can see why the Mazda 6
earned its award as it ticks all the boxes. It looks good, it
has a five-star Euro NCAP Safety Rating and all models
have front, side and curtain airbags, ABS, DSC (Dynamic Stability
Control) and traction control systems for our
Pricing starts at $41,945 for the GLX
model and goes through to around $50,000 for the limited edition.
Compared with other family sedans available on the market, for a
new car, this is a good price - especially when you take into
consideration three years of Mazda care such as servicing, warranty
cover and roadside assistance.
The space in the car boot is fantastic. I
was able to fit all three carseats in the back, plus the pram and a
full load of groceries in the boot. As Royce mentioned I was also
able to fit in a fabulous big mirror that I had just bought for our
The main attraction of the Mazda 6 is that
it's a good, solid vehicle. It's not super fancy but it's safe and
has a range of bells and whistles that make driving an enjoyable
experience without being too complicated.
It's not a prestige car but it's a good
reliable car that does what it should and offers what you'd
As seen in OHbaby!
magazine Issue 14: 2011
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