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2013 Mazda 6

Monday, December 24th 2012. | Mazda

All-new body and cutting-edge styling were some of the biggest buzzwords for the new Mazda6. The makeover – the result of Mazda engineering the midsizer independently of Ford for the first time – birthed a vehicle longer, taller, and broader than the two previous generations. The most dramatic change in the body was the lengthening of the wheelbase by 105 mm. Available bodystyles for the new Mazda6 still include the sedan and wagon; the hatchback was discontinued. Even the naming system for the Mazda6 model grades got an overhaul, the entry-level now being Sport, followed by Touring, GT, and premium-grade Atenza.

Buyers are offered a choice between SkyActiv diesel and gasoline engines, both of which boast best-in-class figures for fuel consumption, emissions, and on-road dynamics and responsiveness. The brilliant SkyActiv-G 2.5-L four-cylinder direct-injection petrol powerplant is BMW- and Audi-grade, delivering 138 kW at 5700 rpm and 250 Nm at 3250 rpm. Fuel efficiency is listed at a better-than-decent 6.6 L/100 km. Mazda’s 2.2-L, common-rail four-cylinder SkyActiv-D diesel engine, on the other hand, is a win for drivers in need of serious muscle. An effortless torque rated at a whopping 420 Nm at 2000 rpm offers endless pulling power and, for the right buyer, is well worth the additional $3,000. Fuel efficiency for the SkyActiv-D is an impressive 5.4 L/100 km, making it a truly thrifty engine.

The 2013 Mazda6 introduces a new 14.2:1 steering ratio. Opinion on this is polarized, with some drivers criticizing the dulling of the steering “feel” and others glad for the improvement in accuracy. The overall effect is that it takes less turns for the driver to get from lock to lock. All in all, it remains a good balance between compliance and control. In terms of agility, the short-wheelbase wagon fared slightly better than the sedan – a fact acknowledged by the manufacturers. This isn’t to say, however, that the Mazda6 sedan offers a harsh ride – quietness and refinement remain the name of the game. The best ride quality was observed in the Sport and Touring and attributed to these grades’ 17-inch alloys and higher-profile tires. The GT and Atenza variants outfitted with aggressive 45-aspect 19-inch alloys offered comparatively jiggly rides.

Standard in the entry-level Sport sedan are the 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, satellite navigation, reverse camera, fog lights, and dual-zone climate control. The next grade, Touring, adds power seats, front and rear parking sensors, leather trim, and Bose audio for $4,000 more than the Sport’s price point. The more expensive model grades GT and Atenza offer still lengthier lists of breakthrough technology, such as heated seats, bi-xenons, auto-dim rearview mirror, and a host of active safety gear. The glut in technology has been well complemented by opulent interior finishing and balanced out by the Mazda6’s muscular styling. Where the length of the Mazda6’s list of pros is hard to criticize, some have observed what buyers have dubbed a rear-pew deficit in the wagon – an unavoidable compromise for the extra 16 L offered by this bodystyle behind the backrest.

Overall, the 2013 Mazda6 is a class leader across the board in the midsize segment. This doesn’t come cheap, with top models pushing past $40K (and the Atenza priced north of $50K). But it nonetheless delivers excellent value for money for buyers shopping at a premium price point.

Cat : Mazda,