Buyer's Guide Drive and Review Sedans and Hatchbacks

(Go Flat Out Review) 2013 Mazda 6 AT: The Six In The City

Mazda is a brand that has always been synonymous with the word sporty, but their cars are not only sporty and fun to drive. They are also good looking. Take the old Mazda 6, for example. Even if that model were to be replaced a year later, it would still look fresh. Now, we have to talk about the new one, and there’s a lot to talk about the all-new Mazda 6. Starting with the exterior design. Since I was excited to drive the new Mazda 6, I was only able to take a few shots of its design.

Exterior

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Yeah! That looks good. Oh wait. Sorry, I forgot I have a review to write. The new Mazda 6’s design follows the company’s design language called Kodo: Soul of Motion, which follows the footsteps of the Mazda CX-5’s design, but done in a more mature and elegant way. The car looks so good, in fact while I was sitting down, waiting for my other mates to finish their Mazda CX-5 test drive, we were just talking on how it’s silhouette reminds us of the Jaguar XF. Those swoopy lines on the side that make the car look very aerodynamic and sporty, and when these lines meet up in front, they become sharp and agressive, like a katana ready to fight, being handled by a master samurai wanting to chuck in this red katana on whatever the road throws at it. Mind you, I am not the only one who adores how this car looks. Just recently, the Mazda 6 has been awarded with the Red Dot Design award for its distinctive looks and beautiful stance. Elegant yet very strong and sexy. I think for me, this is the sexiest midsize sedan on sale right now.

Interior

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Design-wise, I find it a little bit mismatched with the exterior design, but that’s not to say it doesn’t look good. It does, actually, with the red trim piece on the dashboard and leather all over the car. I am impressed by the interior quality of the new Mazda 6. One thing you will notice is compared to the old model, hard plastics were used all around the car. This new one has premium soft-touch materials all around the interior. What I also find amazing is that, all the leather upholstery inside is very soft. Something you’d expect more from a German premium brand.

Space and Practicality

Everything about the interior space is bigger than the old model. It is wider, and longer, which gives rear passengers more legroom. The old one already has a spacious interior, but this new one takes it even further. There are rear seat vents to keep rear passengers cool, and if you want to go to CWC and go wakeboarding, it has a 60-40 split folding rear seat, should you be carrying a wakeboard with you.

Features

The new Mazda 6 comes packed with features. It has the typical array of power seats w/ memory, windows, doors, locks, mirrors, a 3.5 inch multi-information display on the instrument cluster which displays vital information such as i-ELOOP status and such, and a Smart Entry system with Push Button Start. Most of its other features are what you will usually find in the V6 variants of the Mazda 6’s competition. Some of these features are a 5.8 inch infotainment touch screen, sunroof, rear back-up camera, bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming, Rain-sensing Wipers, Bi-Xenon HID headlamps with Auto Levelling, AFS Adaptive Front Light System and LED Daytime Running Lights.

Aside from these features, there are a few technologies which are unique to the Mazda 6. These are its SkyActiv Technologies, which range from engine technologies, to a specially developed body and gearbox. Aside from the growing popularity of Direct Injection petrol engines, which the Mazda 6 also has, it also has i-STOP and i-ELOOP. i-STOP is a Start/Stop system that shuts off the engine while on idle, and from my experience, I didn’t find i-STOP to be too intrusive. i-ELOOP on the other hand, is a regenerative braking system, which is basically a technology from hybrids. To simplify things for you, when you step on the brake, the car’s kinetic energy that was propelling it forward has to go somewhere when it slows down. Most of this kinetic energy becomes useless as it is converted to heat because of friction. Modern cars have an alternator, so the engine power can be converted to electricity to power up the car’s electronics, capturing 10% of the fuel consumption and the horsepower an engine typically produces. What i-ELOOP does is, it uses a special alternator that captures that wasted kinetic energy and converts it into electricity. This electricity does not charge the battery, unlike other systems, because batteries can’t be charged in short intervals. Instead, Mazda developed a high capacity Electric Double Layer Capacitor (EDLC), which can be charged and discharged very quickly, then sends this electricity to power the car’s electronics and technologies. Therefore the Mazda 6’s engine does not need to put much effort to power the car’s electronics, therefore saving fuel.

Know more about how i-ELOOP works and other regenerative braking systems by clicking here.

Powertrain

Powering the new Mazda 6 is a Direct-Injected 2.5 liter SkyActiv-G petrol engine that produces 185 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 250 Nm of torque at 3,250 rpm. Like the other new SkyActiv engines, it has a very high compression ratio of 14:1, and Mazda says that the engine will still be fine even if you fill it up with non-premium fuel. Power is delivered through a 6-Speed automatic transmission, driving the front wheels.

How It Drives

Upon pushing the button to start the Mazda 6’s engine, I immediately noticed something, and that is how quiet the engine is. No vibrations rumble through the cabin upon the ignition of the engine. Take it to the road, and the all-new Mazda 6, is in every word sporty and fun to drive. Pedal feel is very firm and sporty. Brakes are also sharp and responsive. I drove this around Manila, and in order to test its athletic abilities, I did my best to flick it fast at some corners and tried to do my best to fling it at a roundabout without causing trouble to my occupants. The Mazda 6 was tidy with lots of grip, and there was not much body roll, considering that 4 people (including me) were inside the car. Steering is lovely. It is very responsive and has plenty of feedback. Engine is also very responsive to driver inputs and the gearbox is fun to be with, willing to downshift whenever more power is needed. If you want more control, you can of course, use the steering-mounted paddle shifters.

Sportiness aside, I found noticed another improvement, and that is how quiet the interior is. I have been on the old one, but I was a passenger, and there is a lot of road noise coming in throughout the cabin. The new Mazda 6 has a much better sound insulation than the old one, but the Toyota Camry is still quieter.

As for fuel efficiency, my consumption was around *10.4 km/l driving around the city with a bit of sporty driving, and that is a fuel-efficient figure for a midsize sedan, thanks to SkyActiv Technology.

On The Downside

The car’s swooping design does create a bit of a problem in rear visibility. It isn’t bad, but some of the competition has better all-round visibility. Thankfully, a rear back-up camera is standard. Then there’s the ride. The trade-off for sporty handling is of course, a stiff ride. When going over bumps and potholes, the car can jitter about a bit, and while I was driving on the rocky parking lot on the test drive area of the Manila International Auto Show, I drove there very slowly, as the cabin is jittering and vibrating because of the rough terrain. This isn’t a car to be driven in. This is a car to drive. If you want a comfortable and relaxing mid-size sedan and prefer riding in the back seat, then the Toyota Camry or Nissan Teana is better suited for you, or if you want a balance between comfort and sportiness, then the Honda Accord and Subaru Legacy is for you.

Verdict

I am very happy that I had the opportunity to drive the all-new Mazda 6. It is a car that I really love. It is sexy, elegant, fuel efficient, feature-packed, and very fun to drive. It also has a very high quality interior. Mazda has proven that fuel efficiency does not need to be boring, and I am happy that cars like these exist, where its aim is to bring fun to cars and yet be environmentally friendly. Another example would be the Honda CR-Z, in which its pursuit is fuel efficiency, but in a very sporty and exhilarating package. Mazda is a relatively small company compared to Honda, Nissan and Toyota, so hybrid development for them is more of a gamble rather than a step forward, and in their decision to make the gasoline engine more fuel efficient, they truly have succeeded. Indeed, gasoline engines are still here to stay. Amazingly, this new Mazda 6 does not have a price increase over it’s predecessor. At PHP 1,705,000, it is definitely a winner in looks, features, driving dynamics, and fuel efficiency. However, if you want that Soul Red Metallic shown in the photos, you have to add PHP 16,000 to the price tag and have the option to swap the black leather interior into a white one. I’ll take one in Soul Red Metallic and white leather interior please.

Rating

Exterior Design: ★★★★★
Interior Design: ★★★★☆
Interior Quality: ★★★★☆
Features: ★★★★☆
Acceleration: ★★★★☆
Handling: ★★★★☆
Comfort: ★★★☆☆
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★☆
Value For Money: ★★★★☆

OVERALL: 4 out of 5

See Also:

2012 Honda Civic 1.8 EXI
2012 Hyundai Elantra 1.6 GL AT
2013 Mitsubishi Montero Sport GLS-V 4×2 AT
2013 Chevrolet Trailblazer LTZ 4×4 AT
2014 Mazda CX-5 2.5 AWD Sport
2014 Toyota Vios 1.5 G AT
2014 Ford EcoSport 1.5 Titanium

*Fuel consumption results may vary depending on conditions and the driver itself.

Additional Information. The Mazda 6 was recalled just a few months ago because of an issue related to the DC/DC converter under the front passenger seat, which is also related to the Mazda 6’s i-ELOOP system. Fear not. These units have already been fixed by the recall.

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3 comments on “(Go Flat Out Review) 2013 Mazda 6 AT: The Six In The City

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