Morgan Flanagan Creagh gives a very positive assessment of the Mazda6
The Mazda6 is balanced and responsive, like it was designed to be a sports car, but unlike a sports car, it doesn’t try to paralyse you whenever you hit a rural pothole. The Platinum Plus version I tested last month soaked up bumps like a big wallowing cruiser and cornered comfortably at speed, but that is no surprise, since it was built by the people who brought you the world’s best-selling sports car the Mx5 and the fast and furious favourite, the Rx7.
The number of Mazda6s sold in 2018 does not reflect the quality of the car, as only a paltry 464 were registered. It makes for especially grim reading when you compare it to its direct competition, the Mondeo and Passat, which sold 1,099 and 1,885, respectively. I feel this must be down-branding and history, as both the Passat and Mondeo are icons, whereas the Mazda6, with its unimaginative name, hasn’t developed the same kind of following. But silly names aside, the Mazda6 handles and drives better than both of them, without question.
I love Mazda as a car marquee; I enjoy how they think outside the box and build exciting and sometimes ludicrous cars, like when they shoe-horned a preposterous Wankel rotary engine into their Rx8 sports coupé. I could find very little of that trademark madness in the Platinum Plus, but that doesn’t matter because it felt like it was engineered by people who care about how a car drives, as opposed to a team of salary-hungry journeymen who’d be just as happy building the G-Wiz.
The Mazda6 I tested was the 184hp Platinum Plus edition in ‘Snowflake White’ and was powered by a 2.2 litre Skyactive diesel engine. I’m not a lover of diesel engines, but this one is great, smooth, powerful and will get you around 50mpg, while producing 133g of CO2, putting the car in the €280 tax bracket. The car has had a facelift since I last drove it, with all-new headlights and chrome details. It has a new-look interior with a large multimedia screen and a heads-up dashboard display, as well as a sunroof, adaptive LED headlights, heated rear seats and a 360-degree around-view camera.
I was blown away last year when I took the Platinum to Wexford, so I was expecting a lot from this upgrade and I wasn’t disappointed. The cabin is spacious, with comfortable and aesthetically-pleasing brown Nappa leather seats, surrounded by Japanese ‘Sen’ wood on the doors. The Platinum Plus felt so much like a top-shelf luxury car, I’d be surprised if Mazda’s premium Infinity marque didn’t have some input in its development.
The car has some terrific safety specs too, with gadgets like dynamic stability control with traction control system, driver and front passenger airbags, side and curtain airbags, smart city brake support, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist and driver attention alert.
The Platinum Plus I tested was priced at €45,145, which may seem steep, but I feel it is a worthy competitor to the top-shelf German saloons, as opposed to just the Mondeo and Passat.
If you haven’t gathered by now, I think this car is simply terrific and if you’re one of the few who value a saloon car over a crossover SUV, then I recommend testing the Mazda6 Platinum Plus.