The midsize sedan, a sign of the times if you will. It’s also an indication that you’ve made it in life to some extent. For more experienced ladies and gentlemen on the streets of Manila, few cars can rival the comfort of an executive sedan, especially in the rear. Mostly chauffeur-driven, these machines may often look good, ride smooth, and are more mature – at least for the selection available in the Philippines. No offense meant, but It feels as if when you buy into this segment of cars, you have to let go of the good ol’ days when you once had a nimble and compact car that took corners and had 0-100 times that were okay way back when.
So for the “isip bata” in all of us, including our resident man-child, Caco, here’s an in-depth and detailed review of the 2020 Mazda6 2.5 L Turbo in smoldering Soul Red Crystal Metallic.
Following in the footsteps of Mazda’s vision concept, its design for the Mazda6 is definitely a head-turner. The lines just flow so magnificently through the body, and each curve reflects light like a leaf flowing down the stream. The car looks as if it was shaped by running water except for that front grille.
Flanking the gorgeous mesh, that Mazda makes standard for most of the models in its lineup, are a pair of LED projector headlamps with DRLs. These units are so good that Mazda felt that the addition of fog lamps was superfluous. This leaves the bottom corner of the front bumper smooth, and devoid of any obstruction impeding the design flow.
The side and rear of the Mazda6 tell the same story. The curves are clean and concise and are accentuated by the 19-inch wheels that don’t disrupt the cleanliness of the design. The rear is very sedate, and inoffensive. Simple and elegant, but nothing thought provoking.
We posed a scenario to a friend who happens to own a Mazda6 Turbo. We asked if he were to blindfold anyone, have them sit in this car and feel the interior, and make them guess what car they were in, what would be their guess? He mentioned several premium brands, and stated that Mazda’s interior are comparable to European cars.
The density, heft, and weight of the interior components give a sturdy feel. The cabin is lined with supple brown leather that is broken up with suede-like panels. Metallic elements in the cabin are well executed and feel substantial. All the buttons and switches operate without any hollowness, and every press is met with satisfying feedback. The only downside to the luscious interior of the Mazda6 is the inclusion of piano black plastics, which we’re not the biggest fans of.
Rear seating is fairly good, thanks to the substantial amount of leg and headroom. A center armrest hides two USB chargers and cupholders for either passenger. You cannot recline the rear backrest, which could have elevated the experience back there, but you do get rear air vents and footlights under the dashboard and front seats, which was completely unnecessary, but highly appreciated. Rear trunk space is immense. It is one of the largest in its class and is quite deep and wide. Without some vertical volume, the cargo area is sizeable and can get you through the day with 416 liters worth of space.
Whether it’s on an SUV, Coupe, or a midsize sedan like the Mazda6, 19 inches, is still 19 inches. For the segment, the wheels are huge and are noticeable over bumpy roads. The suspension does cope with it, however, with a MacPherson strut and multi-link combo for the front and rear respectively.
The ride is geared more towards athletic and spirited driving, as with most Mazdas. Like other models in the lineup, the NVH insulation is superb. Given that this engine runs on gasoline, the noise is imperceptible in the cabin. After starting up the motor runs quietly from inside, with almost no engine vibration whatsoever even under mild acceleration. This car can do double duty as a car to take to work, or to on a winding road – potholes should be avoided of course.
The infotainment system in the Mazda6 can be controlled via the Commander Control Knob, or with the touch screen while the vehicle is stopped. Either way is intuitive, except for inputting text using the knob while using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. We did a review on the diesel variant quite a while back, and it too has the new smartphone pairing software. The sound system is good, given that it is an 11-speaker setup from Bose – it should be.
The active driving display, combination analog-digital gauge cluster, dual-zone climate control with cooled front seats, and smart keyless entry with push-start round out the technology package to make the experience comfortable and engaged. It doesn’t feel lacking except for adaptive cruise control, but with a car like this that promises an exhilarating drive, who needs it?
So when it comes to safety systems, Mazda knows that only the best will do for its executive-level customer. You got a total of 6 airbags, with two up front, and side and curtain pairs for coverage. Dynamic Stability Control is also present, as is ABS with EBD for when things go awry. All of these items are on top of the lane-keep assist, 360-degree camera with front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and finally, ISOFIX anchors. We would have wanted to see forward collision mitigation, however.
Driving and Handling
Word of advice, ditch the chauffeur and drive this car yourself. Everything is dialed in and ergonomic with a cocoon-like cabin that envelops you and makes you feel one with the car – definitely a result of Mazda’s philosophy of Jinba Ittai. The seat that comes with the Mazda6 is able to adjust enough to give you an optimal driving position, and it even has a seat memory function for when you’re switching between pilots.
And ‘pilot’ is the appropriate term because this midsize sedan flies in a straight line and through the turns. Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control is like magic. It feels as if the car knows where you want to go while you’re turning the wheel. Before you know it, you’re in the lane that you want to be in, or you’re able to keep in your lane even at a higher-than-normal speed.
We haven’t even touched power yet. There are two drive modes on offer, which are normal, and sport. There are no fancy animations when switching between each setting, just a tiny little “sport” over the gear number in the gauge cluster. This sharpens the throttle response and keeps the transmission ready if not in manual mode. Gear changes are quick, the engine is very capable, and all of this is in an unassuming package. Underneath the hood of this poised sedan breathes a heart of fire, at least in its class. You get a 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that produces 228 hp and 420 Nm of torque mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission that accelerates the car like a bat out of hell. Trust us, it’ll surprise you how quick this car is and how well it moves through the corners. It moves smaller than it actually is.
Mazda’s Skyactiv-G technology not only helps with the engine’s power output, but also with its fuel efficiency. In hellish city traffic, the Mazda6 achieved 5.5 km/L, which is expected from a big displacement 4-cylinder, but once things start moving and traffic clears up, the figures rose to 13 km/L at a speed of about 60 km/h which is on par with some compact sedans. On the highway, you can expect up to 23 km/L while cruising at around 80 km/h to 90 km/h.
It is rare that you get a gem of a car like this. It’s able to fulfill two roles and look darn good doing it. The Mazda6 is no slouch and is a joy to drive. It is reasonably comfortable, and superbly capable, and it has devilishly good looks to boot.
All of this refinement and engineering will cost you P2,250,000. It’s a bit steep, but consider the value proposition that Mazda is bringing in the form of mesmerizing build quality and stellar performance. If you were to go by the brand’s direction, which is to go up market into the premium sector, then it’d be almost criminal to buy this car because it is a steal for what it is.
If you’re grown up, and you still love the rush of a great car, then the Mazda6 Turbo is as elegant as it is exhilarating. It moves with purpose, and with a rider perfectly seated in the saddle, it’s nothing short of driving excitement wrapped in velvet sheet metal. Now the question is, when is Polymetal Grey coming out?