17 February 2014

Drive high |2013 Mazda 6 2.5 SKYACTIV-G 6AT

Words and Photos by Carlo Sapera

mazda 6 cover photo right qtr angleMid-size sedans are a staple in most car brands. Eleven years ago, Mazda marked its return to the country by initially bringing in the Tribute SUV and Mazda 6 mid-size. The latter targeted the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Nissan Cefiro. Years before that, the 626 went head-to-head in the same segment.

Last year, Berjaya Auto Philippines, the official distributor of Mazda brand in the country, launched the 3rd generation Mazda 6 at 2013 Manila International Auto Show with a bang.

Sheet metal

mazda 6 left front qtr1Mazda’s flagship model follows the KODO: Soul of Motion design language that conveys beauty and supremacy. The previous model looked good, but the current is sexier and more eye-catching. Move around the car and you’ll see the curves on the front fenders stretching to the doors with some styling cues from Jaguar on the side. In one of my jaunts around, my friend thought that the car was a two-door coupe. It does look like one from a distance. Upfront is a very long hood. The chrome wide-mouth grille is flanked by sharp-looking headlight clusters with LED daylight running lights. One interesting feature is the Bi-Xenon head lamps that follow the direction of the steering wheel. The tail lights look snazzy and reminded me of the Hyundai Sonata.

mazda 6 frontHonestly, it’s one big car that draws attention especially with the Soul Red Metallic paint job. Many people would stare and smile. When I was in the Manila area one morning, a group of guys in a blue Mazda3 Maxx overtook me to see how the car looked. They also wanted to see the handsome driver also. Kidding aside, the 19-inch rims in 225/45R19 rubbers also contribute to the cars’ attractive stance. The clearance is a bit low and you just have to be extra careful with the front bumpers because it is prone to scratches and scrapes.

Bliss inside

mazda 6 dashboardInterior-wise, it feels like a BMW. Quality and craftsmanship is at its finest in here. There are soft-to-touch plastics on the dashboard and door panels. The maroon strip in the middle of the dash is a nice touch, while the red stitching on the leather-wrapped seats added a sporty feel. There are no cluttered buttons around as it was unified to the 5.8 inch touch screen infotainment system. Operating the dual climate air conditioning is a no brainer. It’s easy to adjust the temperature for both the driver and front passenger with a turn of a dial. It may sound traditional but it’s less complicated. According to Mazda, they want everything inside the cabin straightforward as much as possible.

mazda 6 dashI found the seating position on both front passenger and driver front very good. Both feature electronic adjustment. Space at the back is generous, thanks to the long wheel base. Thankfully, they have eradicated the circular air vents from the previous generation. I had a hard time find the right airflow on the old models. I like the addition of the rear air conditioning vents so those at the back will enjoy the cool air too.

mazda 6 head unitOf course, I don’t leave home without my good old driving music. Under the center arm rest are the USB/AUX connectivity so you can plug-in your iPod or MP3 devices. The touch screen head unit is easy navigate with. You can also adjust the volume and change the radio station on the steering wheel. Not to forget, the sound quality is terrific - especially on trance music.

mazda 6 rear seatsBehind the wheel

When I got the test unit from the company’s head office in Makati, I immediately headed out of the concrete jungle to test the 6’s capability on the highway. I turned the audio off to check there’s road and wind noise. There’s none. Ride is very stable and comfortable even on uneven roads in spite of the large rims. If you think that the 6 is challenging to maneuver around because of its size, hello no! The short turning radius, reverse camera, and sensors aid in handling the car on tight spaces.

mazda 6 enginePower is actually generous when you need it. Under the bonnet is the 2.5 liter SKYACTIV-G mil generates 185hp and 250Nm of torque. The SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmission is responsive. I didn’t use the paddle shifters anymore because the fun factor is already present. The Mazda 6 won’t fail you on high speed runs.

Mazda is proud of its i-Eloop and i-stop features as they help in making the car fuel efficient. The i-stop shuts the engine off on long idles so it won’t consume fuel unnecessarily. In stop and go situations, the i-stop indicator blinks, warning the driver that it will shut the engine off in a few moments. Once you shift to “Drive” or move the steering wheel, the engine goes live again. So how does it keep the passengers cool and entertained inside even when the power plant is not running? This where the brake energy regeneration power system called the i-Eloop kicks in. It supplies power to the air conditioning unit, radio, lights, and other stuff. The charging comes from the kinetic energy when the brakes are used. Clever isn’t it? The i-Eloop display is similar to the battery meter found on hybrid vehicles and indicates how much power is stored.

As for the fuel consumption, I was able to achieve an average of 8km/l in my city drive with traffic and 11km/l on the highway. These figures are good for a mid-size sedan.

Topnotch package

mazda 6 skyactivmonikerAt P1.705M you get many other class-leading toys like sunroof, cruise control, Bluetooth phone connectivity, engine start-stop button, and auto dim rear view mirror. Safety kits include dual front, side, and curtain airbags, immobilizer, Dynamic Stability Control, and ABS with EBD. It is also backed with the YOJIN3 Total Care Program, which comes with 3-year periodic maintenance service, emergency road side assistance, and product warranty for worry free driving.

mazda 6 start stop buttonThe 2013 Mazda6 is one desirable car. It is packed with many great and useful features that buyers will surely enjoy. So, if you want to stand out from the crowed, you can consider getting this. The Mazda 6 was crowned as the 2013-2014 Car of the Year Philippines aside from the Best Executive sedan recently by the Car Awards Group Inc. It is indeed a winner.  

 

More photos after:

 

mazda 6 rear

 

mazda 6 window pillar rightside

 

mazda 6 rim

 

mazda 6 right side viewmazda 6 headlight clusters left

mazda 6 gearstick and keyfob