2013 Mazda6 Malaysia Media Test Drive: To Berjaya Hills And Back
The good people of Mazda took us on a trip to Berjaya Hills for lunch at the Colmar Tropicale, and – more importantly, a drive there in the all-new 2013 Mazda6.
Two variants were called up for the task of hauling the lot of us up to Berjaya Hills and back; the SKYACTIV-G 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre. Both variants were equipped with SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmissions, both will the new Mazda6 KODO – Soul of Motion styling, both with full tanks of fuel. Off we went.
KODO – Soul of Motion (Exterior styling)
From the way the front grille draws your eyes towards the center emblem, and then back out towards the headlamps and then down the sides where it sweeps all the way to the back, you’ll pretty quickly find yourself watering at the mouth as if mentally undressing Scarlett Johansson.
But it’s not at all form without function. Taking cues from the Mazda Shinari and Takeri concept cars, the new Mazda6 is aerodynamically spotless too; serving to improve handling and maximise fuel efficiency.
Plainly, it was a joy to take a drive out – and back in, to town with four of the new Mazda6s all around us on our trip. Great looks that don’t just stand for looks. It really is – as Mazda say, tough, beautiful, sexy and strong.
Performance – The fuss about SKYACTIV-G 2.0l and SKYACTIV-G 2.5l
As mentioned in the above, we had two engine variants for the day’s drive. Both were paired with the same transmission (SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic), and both designed with the same philosophy in mind; driving pleasure.
Initially, we were quick to jump to the conclusion that both cars were well under-powered, and could’ve used a boost from a turbo, or else. Not surprisingly, 0-100km/h times for the 2.0-litre were 10.5 seconds, and 8.1 seconds for the 2.5-litre. Slow? Yes, but in retrospect, fun!
Driving an overpowered car can be a little daunting if you don’t know what to do with the juice. It’s often the case that anything that sprints from 0-100km/h in under seven seconds takes away some of the fun of driving; managing oversteer with countersteer isn’t exactly nailing a quick corner. But having a power plant that delivers just the right amount of power at the right time, is awesomely fun; enter new Mazda6 philosophy.
Also, keep in mind that this car wasn’t designed for a lot of lunatics from the motoring media. This car was made for you; to go very quickly, to have lots of fun, and lots of driving pleasure. And this, we assure you, you can have in the new Mazda6.
SKYACTIV-Drive: Seamless shifts through and through
Another very noticeable fact in the new Mazda6 is its SKYACTIV-Drive transmission. Absolutely seamless shifts, when you need it, as much as you need it. Throttle pedal acceleration was very linear to your foot’s hurriedness; lightly press it to go along, nail it to the floor for an automatically dropped gear, and away you go.
If you’re wondering which way to go (2.0l or 2.5l), both have wins and losses. The 2.5-litre behaves a lot quicker, and spec-ed out will give you more toys to play with; i.e.: sunroof, paddle shifts, GPS, Keyless entry, etc.
But the 2.0-litre will adhere further to pure driving pleasure in the sense mentioned above. Less seemed more with this car. So good luck picking between the two; we can’t make up our minds to which we want. Maybe the RM30k difference between the 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre will settle it.
Interior design and amenities
It has to be said that more of the new Mazda6’s merits are based on its exterior design and overall handling; therefore, there were very few things about this car’s interior to shout about.
All the instruments on the dash look very clean and modern. The build quality was great; firm and crisp buttons to press all over. The touchscreen TFT display monitor was good, but a little too small we thought; no bigger than some of today’s mobile phones.
The spec-ed out 2.5-litre had a sunroof (more like a sun-window for its small size), a GPS system, and an 11-speaker BOSE Sound System which were really great to have. You also get a nifty keyless entry system and paddle shifters on the 2.5-litre.
The rest of which you can expect in the new Mazda6 are mostly common goodies you’d find amongst its peers; reverse camera, climate control, cruise control, rain sensors, power adjustable leather seats and so on.
Safety and security
Except for the lane change aid and keyless entry, both variants of the Mazda6 shared similar safety and security features. Six airbags, immobilizer, ABS, Hill Launch Assist, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, they’re all there. And that’s a pretty impressive amount of safety features for any car.
On both cars, you also get Mazda’s i-stop (idling stop technology) that cuts off your engine when it comes to a halt, and goes again when you want it to.
i-ELOOP and i-Stop technology in tandem: Just genius
Also saving you from a hole in your wallets is the car’s i-ELOOP technology. Only available to 2.5-litre Mazda6 owners, the i-ELOOP (regenerative braking system) charges its batteries under your car’s braking (takes just 7-10 seconds for a full charge), and uses that energy to power your car’s electronics when you come to a halt.
The i-ELOOP and i-Stop technology working together in tandem is just genius isn’t it? The idea being that, when you do pull to a halt – at say a traffic light, your car stores up energy from when you apply the brakes, and then uses that energy to power the car once the i-Stop switches off your engine to save fuel. That’s an instant eco badge right there. Well done, Mazda.
i-Activsense Package – Just for the 2.5-litre
What you’d miss out on most should you opt for the 2.0-litre is Mazda’s i-Activsense Package; Adaptive Front Lighting System, Rear Vehicle Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Control and Smart City Brake System.
Of the package mentioned above, the ones worth shouting about most were the Smart City Brake System (SCBS) and the Rear Vehicle Monitoring (RVM) system. We were fortunate enough to see the SCBS system in action during our test drive, and boy does it scare the daylights out of you; saving a life along the way.
The test included us, driving at 20km/h towards an object (replicating another vehicle), and then letting the car do the braking for you. Scary as hell, we went along, and to the Mazda6’s avail, no one was killed; dead stop without having to touch the brake.
The RVM system was great too for monitoring cars around you as you go along. The system sets off a little light in your side mirrors should there be something in your blind spot, and warns you that another vehicle is there.
The drive – “Yes, yes, we know what the Mazda6 has, but what was it like to drive?”
Our sincere apologies. Yes, most of what’s available in the Mazda6, you might already know about from wherever, and we do apologise. But all that we’ve mentioned in the above, were very apparent in the drive itself, and we felt couldn’t be left out. Unlike certain carmakers who dribble on about this and that, and then you get to the driving and don’t feel a thing, in the new Mazda6, you felt it all working for you.
Mazda pride themselves with making the Mazda6 one of the best drives you can have. And that’s exactly what they’ve achieved with the Mazda6. You don’t get the sub-7-second acceleration, but what good is all that power when you can’t spend it well around a bend?
Driving feel was key when the designers put this car together, and the result is exactly that. Feedback from the steering is rather electronic, but in a good way. There’s never a sense of putting the car around the corner and losing the feel of the road. And you’ll be well swung out of your seat before any tyres lose grip.
But that’s not a good thing is it? The seats could have been improved for a snug fit, but instead, they’re slippery, and don’t hold your body in place very well. There’s too much road grip for these seats.
Power delivery is good too. There’s almost no lag at all between you stepping on the gas, and the car going as quickly as possible.
All of this driving pleasure, we found out on the ribbon-roads going up the Genting Highlands, back down again, and up again to Berjaya Hills for lunch, and then back down again.
Interior design doesn’t get that many points from us, but it worked, and looked very clean. The instruments and equipment in the 2.0-litre variant weren’t as impressive as the 2.5-litre, but they were satisfying.
The simple ‘math’ or numbers, point out that, in its class, the Mazda6 leads the way. It looks better, drives better, and is from more than a few measures, just better. Camrys, Accords, beware.
SPECS: 2013 Mazda6
Price: RM159,440 (2.0-litre) / RM187,659 (2.5-litre) (Prices include insurance)
Engine: SKYACTIV-G 2.0, 2.5-litre
Transmission: SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic
Power: 153hp, 200Nm of torque (2.0l) / 185hp, 250Nm of torque (2.5l)
Fuel consumption:5.7l/100km (2.0l) / 6.4l/100km (2.5l)
Steering: Electronic Power-Assisted Steering
Kerb weight: 1393kg (2.0l) / 1444kg (2.5l)