Wagons have always been a vehicle that packs all the aspects you would ever need in a car. It’s spacious, practical, and uncompromised in terms of handling compared to taller, heavier SUVs and crossovers. Apart from the Mazda CX-9, the Mazda 6 serves as the flagship of Mazda’s passenger car range. Initially offered purely as an executive sedan, the Mazda 6’s appeal was further strengthened with the addition of a Sports Wagon body style. Being one of the only two executive wagons in the market, the Mazda 6 Sports Wagon can arguably be considered as one of the best all-rounders in the market.
And it begins with the styling. This design first came out in the 2015-2016 model year of the Mazda 6, and yet, even today, the 2018 Mazda 6 Sports Wagon is still one of the most beautiful executive cars out there. Wagons tend to look less sleek compared to its sedan siblings, but for the Mazda 6, it’s the complete opposite in my opinion. Its long, sloping roofline perfectly blends with the long hood. Moreover, the Mazda 6 Sports Wagon’s lines are cleanly executed, with a character line running from the front grille and then cleanly fading right at the front doors, creating these powerful front haunches that give the Mazda 6 a sporty and assertive look. Sleek adaptive LED headlights blend perfectly well with the signature grille. A neat party trick exclusive to the wagon are these LED accents surrounding the grille, which look extremely cool at night. The rear fascia, on the other hand, has these equally sleek LED taillights that mimic the design up front. Beautifully designed 19-inch alloy wheels round up the seductively designed exterior of the Mazda 6.
Step inside, and you’ll be just as impressed with the interior ambiance. It simply oozes luxury and quality, thanks to the liberal use of soft-touch materials, brown leather accents, and satin silver finishes, giving it a premium feel that defies its price tag. Hard scratchy plastics are only found once you dig much deeper through the interior. And then there are the buttons and switches, which all feel premium and crisp to operate. Elsewhere, storage places are well thought out, with the cupholders being able to be covered with a plush sliding cover to hide it from view, and then there are also large door bins for the front doors.
Back seat space is excellent, and because this is a wagon, there’s a lot more headroom compared to its sedan sibling. Rear passengers are also treated to rear aircon vents, though there are no rear charging ports. Another benefit of a wagon is its large, voluminous trunk space. Without the tonneau cover, the Mazda 6 Sports Wagon’s trunk measures at 522 liters, a little larger even when compared to compact crossovers such as the Mazda CX-5.
On the technology front, the Mazda 6 Sports Wagon is well equipped. Drivers will appreciate the adaptive LED headlights, which partially blocks or dims a part of the lens to avoid blinding drivers, as well as active driver assist systems like lane departure warning and lane keeping assist. Connectivity solutions are provided by the Mazda Connect infotainment system, which is a joy to use. Like what I always say, I prefer the knob and button layout of Mazda Connect, which is similarly found in systems like BMW’s iDrive. The tactile feel of the knob is better for muscle memory than struggling with a touch screen, especially when you’re driving through bouncy roads.
Under the hood of the Mazda 6 Sports Wagon is a 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G petrol engine that produces 190 hp @ 6,000 rpm and 251 Nm of torque @ 4,000 rpm. Power is sent through the front wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The Mazda 6 line-up serves as the brand’s flagship passenger car, and its driving performance out in the real world totally lives up to its positioning. Being a Mazda, the sporty and fun character you expect from the Hiroshima brand translates well into the brand’s flagship passenger car, albeit with a slightly different interpretation. Whereas cars like the Mazda 2, Mazda 3, and of course, the MX-5 deliver an agile driving experience, the Mazda 6 Sports Wagon delivers sporty driving dynamics but with a more mature demeanor. The steering still feels crisp with plenty of feedback letting you know what’s happening through the front wheels, but the suspension, chassis, G-Vectoring Control system, and the rest of the vehicle have been tuned for smoother directional changes rather than all-out agility. This all goes well with what the Mazda 6 is positioned at in the market. It’s for the executive who wants to drive rather than be driven.
This is even evident with the Mazda 6’s ride quality. It’s on the firm side, but it’s still pliant enough that your friends won’t be complaining of sore backs. Apart from a little tire roar, NVH is well isolated, with barely any road and engine noise creeping into the cabin at high speeds. Combined with the Mazda 6 Sport Wagon’s excellent high-speed stability, this is a car that’s completely at home at long highway stretches.
And then, of course, there’s the 11-speaker Bose sound system, which is your best friend during long highway drives. Though it lacks the subwoofer from other versions of the sound system like in the Mazda CX-5, the sound system nevertheless still delivers nice mid and high tones and excellent bass notes, perfect for my music taste that’s catered mainly towards bass-heavy tracks.
Despite being a relatively large vehicle, the Mazda 6 Sports Wagon’s powertrain is just right for the task. It’s not overly powerful, but the gearbox that the 2.5-liter engine is mated to is an excellent companion. There are paddle shifters, but the gearbox does its job well even in pure automatic mode, downshifting very eagerly when you provoke the throttle. Sport mode merely makes the transmission hold the gears much longer, but it doesn’t change the rest of the vehicle’s characteristics. With its i-STOP engine start/stop system and i-ELOOP regenerative braking system, this midsize executive Mazda 6 Sports Wagon is able to achieve a stellar 10.3 km/l, which is amazing for the size of this vehicle.
Wagons are often the best all-rounders in the market, which is why we’re finding it difficult to give this car any downsides. Perhaps just to nitpick, the Mazda 6 Sports Wagon could use blind spot warning with rear cross traffic alert, especially considering it measures a little over 4.8 meters long, and I guess its swoopy design makes it less easy to see out of when compared to the Subaru Levorg.
Wagons have the same level of flexibility and practicality as an SUV or crossover without the compromise that a tall ride height does to a car’s handling. Yet SUVs and crossovers are all the rage these days, as buyers prefer the higher driving position and flood wading capability that an SUV or crossover has, pushing wagons like this Mazda 6 Sports Wagon into the niche end of the market. With a starting price of P1,845,000, the Mazda 6 Wagon offers a strong proposition to drivers who want to buck the SUV and crossover trend. It’s a car that not only fulfills what the heart wants, but what also the mind needs. While a 2019 model is just over the horizon, this 2018 Mazda 6 Sports Wagon still manages to offer a very strong value proposition. It’s a vehicle for people who want an executive wagon with the sportiness and luxury expected from a Mazda, but with more than the practicality that only a wagon can offer. It’s a car for people like me, because I personally bought this 2018 Mazda 6 Sports Wagon myself.
Pricing and Rating
Exterior Design: ★★★★★
Interior Design: ★★★★★
Space and Practicality: ★★★★★
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★★
Value For Money: ★★★★☆
Overall: 4.6 out of 5