It’s no secret that we at TG – and perhaps a bunch of other journos – love the Mazda6. For a D-segment sedan, it ticked all the right boxes by being adequately posh, well equipped and matched with both good looks and dynamic performance.
Of course, staying ahead of the competition isn’t easy, thus why Mazda kept updating this model over the years since it came about, bringing us to this most recent facelift for 2018. Having spent an entire weekend piloting it recently, it seems Mazda have done justice to this D-segment fighter of theirs.
On the surface, it’s going to take the trained eye to spot the mildly restyled front bumper and grille combination, not forgetting its new 17-inch alloy wheels design too. What’s clear though are the sleek new full-LED headlights this 2.0-litre base model variant now boasts up front, adding both presence and driving clarity.
Climb aboard into the cabin and again, it will take a trained eye to see just how this refreshed model has a new widened new dash design now. The MZD Connect touchscreen display panel has also grown in size to 8-inches and mounted lower for greater visibility, and there’s a new pair of wider seats, offering better comfort and support than before too.
Giving this cabin the classy end game it deserves are the right mix of shiny brightworks, gloss black panels and surrounds plus off-black trim colourway. Overall, it appears as if Mazda took the ‘safe’ approach here, but there’s indeed more to the cabin’s improvements beyond its look and feel – more on this later.
This being the base model offering, it does lack a few things such as keyless entry to match the keyless ignition feature present. But where it really counts for the most, this Mazda doesn’t fail as it still primed with a reverse camera, smartphone connectivity via Bluetooth and USB, as well as the presence of a basic cruise control.
On the move, this refreshed entry-level offering drives just as well as before. It’s peppy 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G four-cylinder petrol mill – which boasts both direct-injection and high compression ratio – still delivers healthy outputs of 163hp and 213Nm to drive its front wheels through a slick six-speed automatic box.
Keep both your right foot light and the i-Stop engine idling stop-start system turned on and this sedan will sip as low as 6.5 litres/100km on average too. Do that and don’t be surprised to see yourself charting some serious miles with every full fill up of this sedan’s 62-litre tank.
The same can be said with the handling dynamics, by which we mean it’s also relatively unchanged. You’ve probably heard us say this before, but it’s worth mentioning again: this Mazda’s taut yet balanced ride mirrors more closely to a rivaling European offering, making it a cut above the bulk of its Asian-made peers. There’s also the presence of Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control (GVC) that helps make light of long trips too.
Mazda’s taut yet balanced ride mirrors more closely to a rivaling European offering, making it a cut above the bulk of its Asian-made peers.
However, those familiar with current generation Mazdas will know this fact well enough, and we’re talking about their apparent lack in noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) reduction. More specifically, it’s the noticeable road and wind noise intrusion that plagues most current generation Mazda offerings, but not this.
Yup, besides making the cabin slightly prettier and more posh, Mazda have finally taken the steps to make it quieter, hence the presence of new and thicker door panels, outer glass, headliner, and door seals. For once, the Mazda 6, even in its most basic form as featured, rides much quieter than before, making it a lot more pleasant to drive and be in over long periods.
Of course, some things don’t change, and this refreshed base model Mazda sedan is no exception. For instance, you still get a pretty large boot that make light of any grocery runs, and there’s the full swing of standard safety features – 6 airbags, ISOFIX child seat mounts, ABS, stability control and hill launch assist – that make this base model variant a sound choice for many. Then there are other aspects such as a premium price tag that will make this a stretch for many to own.
At RM165,215.60 before on road costs, this face-lifted Mazda6 2.0 base model offering is undeniably pricey over its key rivals like the Toyota Camry 2.0E and Honda Accord 2.0VTi-L. It’s also in the same ball park as things like the Kia Optima GT and VW Passat 1.8 Trendline, with both these rivals having the added boost of turbocharged performance plus a few added premium features too.
Perhaps the saving grace to this pricey saloon is its almost unbeatable after-sales offer as said price includes a three-year or 60,000km free service package on top of its five-year or 100,000km warranty. You could say that’s where the premium is going into and, for some at least, that’s a worthy investment indeed.
Overall, if you liked how the Mazda6 2.0 was like before, you’ll definitely like this one knowing it now rides much quieter and more comfortably.
A tad spartan with its features and is VERY pricey, but is arguably more refined than most of its peers.
Arguably better-specced for similar money, and there’s more oomph…
|Engine||1,998cc, direct-injected 4-cyl petrol, FWD, 162bhp, 213Nm|
|Performance||0-100kph NA, 205kph|