If you had a passing interest in the vehicle style purchase habits of the New Zealand market, you will know that there has been a shift to SUVs away from sedans over the last few years. I guess this might be down to things like perceived safety being higher and the fact that you can fit half a soccer team in them. But if you don’t happen to need to ferry Ronaldinho and his friends and you have a basic understanding of physics, cornering and a higher centre of gravity you should also appreciate the good old sedan.
Especially when that good old sedan is no longer that good old sedan… Queue laser lights and smoke machine. After 5 model years, the Mazda6 has been updated and restyled. The Mazda6 has always had a strong design language behind it, but that has even further increased with the 2019 model. The deeply sculpted look of the front, including lower and wider mesh grille which is made up of an intricate pattern of small blocks, gives the vehicle a lower centre of gravity and a wider, more imposing stance. New LED headlamps with integrated fog lamp function are standard across all models and have been restyled to provide a sleek wide shape. The lower section of the bumper, which was previously black, is now body coloured to provide a more premium look.
External changes continue at the rear of the vehicle with a sleeker more refined look that includes the signature lighting positioned lower. Wider exhaust pipes are positioned closer to the outer edges of the vehicle and there are newly designed aluminum alloy wheels.
There has been some finessing going on inside as well. These include aligning the height of the centre and side ventilation louvres and extending the side louvres into the door trim, make the instrument panel look wider and creates a feeling of openness. The popular windscreen-projected Active Driving Display is now standard across the range and the eight-inch centre display screen makes its first appearance in the Mazda6.
And not all improvements are completely technical. A complete redesign of the front seats gives more comfort with deeper and more sculptured thicker padding and wider seat cushions.
Under the bonnet, the 2.5 turbo petrol engine gives good to low-to-mid-range torque and excellent real-world fuel economy and includes two new technologies. Firstly, Dynamic Pressure Turbo system featuring a 4-3-1 exhaust system that controls the exhaust pulse to deliver better boost performance.
The second one is Cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (ERG) that reintroduces some of the exhaust gas into the engines air intake as inert gas. This helps to prevent knocking and improves fuel economy.
There are two other upgraded engine options available; a 140kW with 252Nm SKYACTIV-G 2.5L petrol; and a 140kW with 450Nm SKYACTIV-D 2.2L diesel engine. The 2.5L petrol engine now includes a new cylinder deactivation system that further reduces fuel consumption when the car is driven at constant cruising speeds, by shutting down the outer two of the engine’s four cylinders.
The 2.2L diesel features a new combustion process called Rapid Multi-Stage Combustion, which has improved peak torque by +30Nm and peak power by +11kW with improved fuel consumption and emissions. The result is quieter and more economical performance in low-speed / low-load situations, while also delivering a linear engine sound that matches the degree of acceleration under powerful engine conditions.
Safety has always been a big priority for Mazda, so it makes sense that a bit of focus has gone into this area for the Mazda6 too.
The Mazda6 Adaptive LED Headlamps (ALH) features a 20-split LED array with individual control of several LEDs providing precise adjustment of the lighting pattern. The ALH feature automatically controls your front head lamps in high beam and allows precise adjustment of the lighting pattern. The system automatically broadens visibility at low speeds, shapes the high beam to help avoid dazzling other drivers and raises beam height at highway speeds to extend vision area (Standard on the Limited and TAKAMI models).
Other i-ACITIVSENSE safety features equipped to all models include Mazda’s proprietary Autonomous Emergency Braking-Advanced Smart City Brake Support-Forward (ASCBS-F), Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RTCA), and Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) with Stop and Go functionality.
The new Mazda6 comes in six models split evenly between the Sedan and Wagon body styles and is available in a choice of eight exterior colours, with Mazda’s signature Soul Red Crystal replacing Soul Red Metallic.
Pricing for the new Mazda6 ranges from $45,995 for the Sedan GSX model to $56,995 for the Sedan TAKAMI model.