|Photos by Ulysses Ang|
Seeing her drive up is enough to rekindle the flame of driving lust; you know you’re going to have a blast. Father Time has certainly been kind to her. Two years may be forever in car terms, but she has managed to keep her figure. She’s been working out all this time and she’s grown smarter now with a spiffy set of circular LED DRLs making her stand out during the day time. At night, those headlamps grow brightly thanks to active LED main beams that adjust automatically to oncoming traffic. It’s the same with her front fog lamps; they’re smaller, but cast the same amount of light because of LEDs. She’s got new shoes too, but not that you’ll notice at a glance. It’s the same 19-inch design as before, only it’s now of a gunmetal color. In the two years, she’s managed to make herself more like a member of the Mazda family with the new grille and bumper. It’s great and all, especially considering that their youngest, the MX-5 is gaining the most attention; but those chrome fangs sure look out of place.
The greatest criticism thrown against the Mazda6 before was that she was severely lackluster inside. She had all the looks, but none of the classy upbringing. To twist the lyrics of a song, she was the downtown girl in an uptown world. That’s all changed this time. She’s clearly learned her manners and has got the cabin to prove it. Everything has been reshaped, re-tweaked, and revised. The most noticeable one is the contrasting piece of leather running across the length of the dashboard. The white-colored leather (not the cheap imitation stuff) is an added premium of P 16,800 and serves as the perfect reminder that you’re in a 6 and not in a 3. And she gets better from there. Move your eyes around and notice the new brushed metallic accents. It’s the same sort of stuff found in the window switch bezel and gearlever base, removing that awful corrugated plastic stuff and piano black trim. She also has better cup holders and more cubby spaces than before. And as you settle into the sweet embrace of her seats once more, you notice the new Mazda Connect system, complete with the floating screen and rotary dial control. It’s a love or hate thing, but there’s no denying it gives a very supercar-like feel especially when you notice the white-leather trim running the length of the center console (if you’re not a fan of the bright cowhide though, you can still opt for black).
As sexy as she is though, she’s got one major quirk: ingress/egress. Headroom is fairly limited front or back thanks to that sweeping roofline. So if you’re not careful, she’ll have you bumping your noggin going in or out. You can certainly lower the seat height (at least for the front passengers) to compensate for that, but you’ll do so at the detriment of the ideal driving position.
Once you’re inside though, she does have a nice and ergonomic cabin. The seats are supportive and balance both comfort and support. Her gauges, with her revamped graphics, remain one of the most straightforward and easiest to use. An interesting side note is that the i-ELOOP display is no longer in the gauges; it has migrated into a submenu in the Mazda Connect system. Replacing that is a screen dedicated to her i-ACTIVSENSE, particularly the lane departure warning. That’s a bit of overkill considering it appears twice: once in the gauge cluster and another in the heads-up display; and it’s no more than a few inches apart. This could have been used to display other stuff.
Moving on to the subject of the infotainment system, the Mazda Connect serves as your main communication point with her different functions and settings. Most importantly though, this single change fixes the Mazda6’s biggest problem from before: her tantrum with iPods. Now, she can play tunes confidently how you want them, when you want them (though she tends to keep them playing even when the car’s off). She’s also got a new Bose sound system, but in this application it prioritizes clarity over thump-thumping bass. You can want deeper bass in your Mazda sound system, the Mazda3 Speed does it better.
Just like before, the Mazda6’s model designation isn’t complicated. She makes do with one single engine: a 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine putting out 188 horsepower and 250 Nm of torque. Keen observers note that in terms of output, she can’t hold a candle against the competitors’ V6 offerings. But, she can easily out grunt everyone’s normally-aspirated 4-cylinder variants. Still, she’s a drag strip queen, obliterating the 100 km/h in, would you believe, 7.8 seconds. Her secret ingredient, like before, is the responsiveness of the 6-speed automatic which reacts to your every whim and wish. It’s so well programmed that she’ll know when you need to downshift even before you know it. And she’s got that extra detent in her throttle that’ll force a downshift whatever gear you’re in; an extremely useful tool in extracting every bit of performance available. She learns a new trick this time in the Drive Selector function. It’s a little toggle switch just above the electronic parking brake that shoots considerable adrenaline into her system causing her to hold gears longer and increase the sensitivity of the throttle. It isn’t frivolous because she’ll let out an urgency equivalent to a V6. And she’ll sound like it too. The only gripe is that the location should’ve been made within a thumb’s reach. Anyway, with a week’s worth of driving, she returns 8.84 km/L in the worse city traffic (average speed 17 km/h). As it lightens up, it goes up to a whopping 19.01 km/L.
Her on-road manners remain as lovely as it did before, but this time, she’s learned to wear velvet gloves. She’s noticeably quieter thanks to improved NVH. Mazda reckons it’s up to 25 percent better and that could be accurate given how she sounds hushed and relaxed. Even if you pump the tires up to their recommended pressure of 36 PSI front and 46 PSI rear (full load of 5 passengers and luggage), she can ride those rough patches much better. Her kryptonite remains sharp, abrupt obstacles like makeshift village humps. Those jar the cabin and come with an annoying knocking sound from the front suspension. For all her new-found manners though, she hasn’t forgotten how to have fun. Bring her to a sweeping bend and she returns the favor with a flat ride and no body roll. She’ll understeer during more extreme levels of cornering, but you have to remember, she’s a large sedan.
Two years has gone by, and the Mazda6 remains the same lovely car you’ve grown to love. She’s not the first KODO designed car nor the first one fitted with Skyactiv, but by and large, she’s the sexiest and most convincing among her sisters. She’s every bit as fun-loving as she was before, but she gets added qualities of being prim and proper; qualities sought after in the executive sedan segment. She’s still not the plushest rider out there, but she still is the most exciting. She’s was the girl you always wanted to have a fling with. Now, she’s the one you want to marry.
|Ownership||2015 Mazda6 2.5 Skyactiv-G Sedan|
|Year Introduced||2013 (Refreshed: 2015)|
|Vehicle Classification||Executive Sedan|
|Body Type||4-door sedan|
|Engine / Drive||F/F|
|Under the Hood|
|Layout / # of Cylinders||I4|
|BHP @ rpm||188 @ 5,700|
|Nm @ rpm||250 @ 3,250|
|Fuel / Min. Octane||Gasoline / 93~|
|Dimensions and Weights|
|Curb Weight (kg)||1,444|
|Suspension and Tires|
|Front Suspension||Independent, MacPherson Strut|
|Rear Suspension||Independent, Multi-Link|
|Front Brakes||Vented Disc|
|Tires||Bridgestone Turanza T001 225/45 R 19 W (f & r)|
|Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)||Yes|
|Traction / Stability Control||Yes|
|Parking Sensors||Front, Rear w/ Reverse Camera|
|Fog Lamps||Yes, Front|
|Steering Wheel Adjustment||Tilt/Telescopic|
|Steering Wheel Material||Leather|
|Folding Rear Seat||Yes, 60/40|
|Power Door Locks||Yes|
|Power Mirrors||Yes, with Fold|
|Climate Control||Yes, Dual Zone, with Rear Vents|
USB x 2
|No. of Speakers||11, Bose|
|Steering Wheel Controls||Yes|