The Japanese word Kodo literally translates into heartbeat, but in the world of marketing its means ”Soul of Motion” for this is the maxim used by the Mazda 6 styling team. First introduced in 2002 the Mazda 6 reached one million sales faster than all previous Mazda’s. Fast forward to the third generation and all new Mazda 6 finally the light at the end of the tunnel Mazda needed.
The exterior design alone is worth savoring, ”KODO” is cool, so cool that 6 was shortlisted as a finalist in the 2013 World Design of The Year competition, the objective view is that Mazda have really nailed the exterior design of their new 6 Saloon.
The interior, in contrast, isn’t as extrovert in its styling, it feels very mature and business like, not as plush as one key rival such as the Skoda Superb but certainly a lot better than the current Ford Mondeo, not the newer replacement mind you. The Mazda 6 is available in three trim levels, SE, SE-L and Sport and can be fitted with either the 2.2 litre diesel or the 2.0 litre petrol engine both of which have been split into two further power derivatives. With a 24 model range the Mazda 6 is also available as either a saloon or estate (Tourer) with the option of a six speed manual or automatic transmission. Prices start from £19k and range up to £27k for top spec models.
SkyActiv, Mazda’s weight saving and engine efficiency technology, has been employed in conjunction with brake energy recuperation and stop /start to lower emissions, improve economy and boost performance. C02 emissions on some models are as low as 108g/km. So the Mazda 6 is not only friendly on the corporate tax scheme, its also packed with the latest technology and gizmo’s but at the end of the day its on the road where it matters most.
The 2.2 Diesel Sport Nav Saloon produces 175bhp and 420Nm, with the six speed manual gearbox, performance is swift, smooth and flexible. The ride felt firm at low speed but not unduly harsh enough to make it unfathomably uncomfortable. Handling is composed at low speed but up the pace and there is initial body roll on corner entry.
As the weight of the front end shifts from one side to the next there is just a very faint steering delay when turning the wheel quickly from a left to right phase. Having said that the electronic steering is perhaps the best application of the technology I have driven, naturally weighted at low and high speed, in short it feels perfectly calibrated for motorway cruising.
First impressions of the Mazda 6 are the superlative styling, the great value and an efficient and dynamic engine range, there are flaws, as with every car, but it is the style and steering that mark out the Mazda’s abilities, although interior trim is of a good standard, rivals such as the VW Passat and Skoda Superb still set the standard that others should better. Ability wise they are more or less even but in this market sector that little extra bit of quality may sway some decisions.
However the Mazda’s styling might also have a similar effect, but as with all decisions some are made with the head, others with the heart.